One of the biggest unanswered questions surrounding the January 6th Capitol attack was the delayed response of the Washington DC National Guard. Various people have made various excuses for the hours-long delay, all of which have sounded suspicious – raising the question of whether the Trump White House may have delayed sending in the National Guard on purpose in order to protect the pro-Trump people who attacked the Capitol.
Now we appear to be getting an answer. The January 6th Committee just released a fifty-plus page document recommending that White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows be referred for criminal contempt. In that document, the committee spells out various things it would have asked Meadows if he’d shown up and testified. One of those questions is why Meadows sent an email on January 5th stating that the National Guard was on standby to “protect pro Trump people.”
So what does this even mean? The darkest interpretation would be that the Trump White House knew the January 6th Capitol attack was coming, and decided that if the National Guard was going to be used at all, it would only be on the side of the pro-Trump terrorists.
Of course Meadows and his defense lawyers might try to argue that the National Guard was really on standby to protect against “Antifa” or other anti-Trump groups. But in such case, why would the National Guard be protecting pro-Trump people from anti-Trump people? Wouldn’t it still be protecting the Capitol from anti-Trump people?
The most obvious interpretation here is that Donald Trump refused to send in the National Guard to fend off the Capitol attackers because he’d already decided to use the National Guard to help protect the Capitol attackers from other law enforcement personnel. Keep in mind that the DC National Guard is technically part of the U.S Army. So if this is the proper context for the Meadows email, then it means Trump directed the U.S. military to side with domestic terrorists and against the United States Congress.
If it comes down to it, Donald Trump will try to pin the entire thing on Mark Meadows. At that point Meadows would have to flip on Trump just to avoid potentially spending the rest of his life in prison, and Meadows had better hope he’s got evidence up his sleeve that proves the orders came from Trump.
Of course that’s all getting a few steps ahead. For now Mark Meadows is being referred for criminal contempt, and based on how serious the referral is, the Department of Justice is highly likely to indict and arrest Meadows for contempt. That’s all before getting to whatever underlying criminal charges Meadows (and others, including Trump) might end up facing as a result of the criminal activity documented in evidence such as these emails.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report