When Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows’ former top aide Cassidy Hutchinson gave public testimony last week that proved Trump and Meadows guilty of multiple felonies, that kind of development always sets off a chain reaction of events behind the scenes. But because the public doesn’t get to see most of the moves that are made by prosecutors, we’re left trying to piece together what’s going on based on the isolated pieces of information that do surface.
As soon as Hutchinson was finished testifying, every prosecutor investigating Trump world surely reached out to her, seeking her immediate cooperation with their criminal probes. Hutchinson would have known this was coming, and thus was likely already set up to swiftly comply with such requests.
Now, just a week after Hutchinson’s public testimony against Trump and Meadows, Fulton County Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis has subpoenaed everyone in Trump world who was reportedly involved in the Georgia election tampering – except Trump and Meadows. Willis has subpoenaed Lindsey Graham, Rudy Giuliani, Jenna Ellis, and others to testify to the grand jury. But she’s left Trump and Meadows out of it.
Trump’s exclusion makes sense. He’s the criminal target in Georgia. The DA is presumably giving the likes of Graham, Giuliani, and Ellis the opportunity to avoid indictment if they help take Trump down by testifying against him (she can still indict them if they refuse to cooperate, or lie to the grand jury).
Prosecutors can’t force a criminal target to testify against himself, so it makes sense that the DA hasn’t subpoenaed Trump. But the exclusion of Meadows is fascinating, given that Meadows’ former top aide just finished spelling out Meadows’ guilt on live national television. Cassidy Hutchinson did not get into the full details of how Meadows tampered in the Georgia election results, but major media reports have long pointed to Meadows as having had the greatest criminal culpability in Georgia of anyone.
So what’s really taken place behind the scenes over the past week? One straightforward scenario would be that DA Willis asked Hutchinson for her testimony, and as a result Willis has decided to indict Trump and Meadows, thus explaining why Meadows isn’t being subpoenaed.
This is all presuming Meadows hasn’t started cutting deals with prosecutors in the week since he got nailed on witness tampering. Criminal targets often finally realize they’re going to prison once they get caught on these kinds of process crimes, which make for comparatively easy convictions. So it’s at least theoretically possible that Meadows has spent the past week cutting a cooperation deal not only with the DOJ, but also with the Fulton County DA, and isn’t being subpoenaed for that reason.
But let’s bring it back to what we do know. One week ago, Cassidy Hutchinson announced by default that she’s available as a cooperating witness to any and all prosecutors targeting Trump and Meadows. Now, today, the Fulton County DA is subpoenaing everyone except Trump and Meadows to testify to the grand jury. It sure looks like DA Willis has decided that Trump and Meadows are her two criminal targets, and that everyone else in Trump world is being subpoenaed to testify against Trump and Meadows. Stay tuned.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report