Last night we all received news that was shocking if you’ve been listening to the doomsday pundits, but not at all surprising if you’ve actually been paying attention to the information that’s surfaced over the past six months: the DOJ is indeed criminally investigating Donald Trump. But what about his literal partner in crime, Mark Meadows?
The same WaPo report that confirmed the DOJ is deep into investigating Donald Trump also revealed that the DOJ has had Mark Meadows’ phone records since April. So much for the popular notion that the DOJ was “letting Meadows off the hook” when it declined to indict him for contempt – a narrative that never made any sense no matter how many times it was repeated.
At the time it seemed pretty obvious that one of two very opposite things was happening with Meadows. Either the DOJ wasn’t indicting him for contempt because he’d already cut a cooperation deal, or it wasn’t indicting him for contempt because it was assembling much more serious charges against him and didn’t want to risk fouling up the broader case by bringing a premature contempt charge.
When the Fulton County District Attorney sent a grand jury subpoena or a target letter to essentially everyone involved in Donald Trump’s Georgia election plot except Mark Meadows, the mystery only deepened. Do prosecutors keep skipping over Meadows because he’s already cooperating across the board, or because they consider him a top tier criminal target and are saving him for last?
One of the few clues we’ve received along the way was when the January 6th Committee revealed that Meadows had unsuccessfully tampered with witness Cassidy Hutchinson ahead of her second round of closed door testimony. On the one hand, this pointed to Meadows certainly not having been a cooperator at the point he was tampering with Hutchinson. On the other hand, getting caught tampering with a witness is often the kind of thing that makes a target like Meadows realize that he’s going to prison for sure, and motivates him to cut a deal.
So this brings us to the question of whether the DOJ has had Meadows’ phone records since April because that’s when it obtained them from his carrier, or whether Meadows flipped in April and turned over the records himself. There’s still an argument to be made either way.
Of course while all we can do is try to figure out whether Meadows has flipped or whether Meadows is a top tier criminal target, the DOJ certainly knows the answer. We’ll all find out that answer when the DOJ either indicts Meadows, or indicts someone else and the resulting court filing gives away that Meadows has flipped.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report