The Mark Meadows indictment just turned a major corner – and so did the January 6th Committee


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Last night, for the first time, the January 6th Committee called on the DOJ to hurry up and indict Mark Meadows for contempt already. This suggests it’ll indeed happen soon. Up to now the committee has remained quiet about this – suggesting that up until now, it felt the DOJ had good reason to be taking this long. That position has now obviously changed, and the committee now wants Meadows indicted immediately. So what changed?

The most likely scenario was that the DOJ’s overall case against Meadows was massive, and it didn’t want to indict him now on contempt, for fear he could use the resulting court hearings to get a peek at the rest of the case against him. The other plausible scenario was that he’s already flipped.

Today’s change of tone by the committee does not mean Meadows hasn’t flipped. It does mean that if Meadows has flipped, the committee doesn’t know about it. Which would eliminate the possibility that the committee was being patient because it had been told Meadows had flipped.

This leaves us with the more likely scenario that Meadows hasn’t flipped, and the DOJ intends to indict him, but hasn’t wanted to do the contempt indictment before the other charges were ready – as long as the committee didn’t complain about the whole thing.

Now that the committee is indeed complaining, the DOJ will face intense pressure to quickly indict Meadows for contempt. Although independent, it has a de facto duty to consider criminal referrals from Congress within a timeframe that Congress reasonably feels is timely.

So the Meadows contempt indictment should now happen soon. The big question is whether the DOJ will try to hurry up and indict Meadows on broad charges at this time, or if it’ll just indict Meadows for contempt at this time and keep working on the rest.

But Meadows was always going to be indicted; this isn’t news. The big news here is that the committee has apparently reached a point of progress in its probe where it’s no longer content to let the DOJ slow walk the Meadows indictment for its own purposes.

The committee is presumably nearly ready to commence with public hearings, and wants Meadows indicted – along with Navarro and Scavino – before hearings begin. It’s not clear why the committee views the swift arrests of these two specific individuals to be more important than the swift arrest of any of the other non-cooperators it could have chosen to refer for contempt at this time, but it is clear that the committee does view these two individuals as more important than the others.

“So why didn’t the committee just demand Meadows’ immediate indictment sooner?” Because up to now it didn’t matter (your personal impatience is not a factor). For some reason the DOJ wanted more time on the Meadows case, and the committee lost nothing by obliging – until now.

So we can now expect Meadows to be indicted soon (though “soon” in the real world doesn’t mean what it means on the internet). And the committee has clearly turned some corner to where it’s ready to move into a new phase and wants things done promptly. This is all good news.

But good news doesn’t get ratings and retweets. So most media and pundits will take the most unrealistic and unlikely scenario – the DOJ decides not to indict Meadows – and hype it as if it were likely to happen. Good news always results in more doomsday punditry, not less.

So right up until the minute Meadows is indicted, we’ll keep hearing louder doomsday hysteria about how it won’t happen. Then when it happens the media will portray it as a shocking development no one could have seen coming.

If this sounds too cynical, keep in mind that this is precisely what the media and the pundits did in the lead up to Steve Bannon’s contempt indictment. Doomsday hysteria, then act shocked it happened, then later pretend it never happened and push more doomsday hysteria. The behavior of the pundits won’t be any different this time, nor will the outcome. Meadows will be indicted.

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