When the DOJ took three weeks to criminally indict Steve Bannon for contempt of Congress, skeptics spent the entire time asking what was taking so long. Now that the DOJ has taken closer to six weeks to criminally indict Mark Meadows for contempt of Congress, skeptics are going ballistic. But the Meadows case had a caveat that the Bannon case didn’t – and tonight that caveat was just erased.
When Bannon tried to invoke executive privilege, it was a laugh out loud argument, because he wasn’t even working for the White House in the January 6th timeframe. So the DOJ was able to indict him without even having to take such an argument seriously. But Meadows was working as the White House Chief of Staff on January 6th. So while he doesn’t have executive privilege either, Donald Trump’s ongoing court case about January 6th-related executive privilege was relevant to the contempt case against Meadows. In fact Meadows’ legal team even went so far as to ask the Supreme Court for an expedited ruling on the case, because it directly affected Meadows’ legal prospects.
But on Wednesday night that court issue vanished, when the Supreme Court emphatically ruled against Trump on executive privilege. If Trump can’t invoke executive privilege over January 6th, then neither can Meadows. So now the DOJ has a very clear path to indicting Meadows; in fact the Supreme Court just handed the DOJ its argument.
This doesn’t necessarily mean the DOJ will indict Mark Meadows first thing tomorrow or anything. But State Attorney for Palm Beach and legal expert Dave Aronberg tweeted that the Supreme Court ruling means it’s time to “Warm up the Grand Jury” and that it “makes DOJ more likely to seek an indictment for criminal contempt of Congress.” We suspect Meadows will be indicted within the next several days.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report