Now that we know Mark Meadows has testified to Jack Smith’s grand jury, we’re all trying to parse what that actually means for Donald Trump. It’s important to keep in mind that, given the circumstances of this case and how the law works, there are only two scenarios at this point.
Remember, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled back in April that Meadows must testify to the grand jury about crimes he witnessed but did not participate in. This wasn’t anything out of the ordinary; it’s simply how the law works. We know that Meadows at least complied with this order, or else the appeals court would have hauled him away for contempt of court by now.
Keep in mind that if Meadows strictly complied with the court order and gave the minimum testimony required under the law, then he’ll get no leniency for this. He’ll still be indicted, and if convicted he’ll still go to prison for a long time. We’ll call this Scenario One.
What we don’t know is whether Meadows took the additional step of cutting a cooperation deal. If he did, then he gave complete testimony about everything – including crimes he participated in – in exchange for leniency and immunity. We’ll call this Scenario Two.
It’s important to understand that there are no other scenarios in play. One of the above two things has happened.
There is no scenario where Meadows simply lied his way through his grand jury testimony to try to help Trump. The reason prosecutors painstakingly build these kinds of cases from the bottom up is so that by the time they get to someone like Meadows, they already know enough about the parameters of the case that there’s no way Meadows can lie during his testimony.
There is also no scenario where Meadows simply pleaded the fifth in response to every question. The courts already ruled that he had to answer certain questions. If Meadows had pleaded the fifth to every question, the courts would have hauled him off for contempt.
There are only two scenarios here. Either 1) Meadows gave strictly the amount of testimony that the law required him to give, which would be really bad for Trump, and Meadows is still getting indicted, or 2) Meadows cut a deal and gave up everything, which would be devastating for Trump. One of these two things has happened. Which of the two is it? We’ll surely find out within days at most.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report