When the January 6th Committee decided that Steve Bannon would be the first big name it would subpoena, it felt obvious where this was heading. The committee chose Bannon, knowing he was unlikely to cooperate because of his own overall legal troubles, so it could make an example out of him by having him indicted and arrested for contempt. Then other, more skittish witnesses would hopefully fall in line.
Once the committee announced that it was also going to refer former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows for contempt, it was game on. Out of the numerous subpoenaed witnesses, someone would surely cave. Sure enough, Ali Alexander – the poster child for skittish witnesses – announced over the weekend that he was going to cooperate with the committee, for fear of going to prison.
Then yesterday we all learned that Mark Meadows has also decided to cave at the last minute, in order to avoid being indicted and arrested for contempt. This is even better news than we could have hoped for. Ordinarily you bust the most defiant witnesses in order to scare the softest witnesses into caving. But getting Meadows himself to cave is just golden. He’s one of the most valuable potential witnesses in all of this.
With Mark Meadows and Ali Alexander having caved, we’ll see who else now decides to get on board with the committee before it has enough cooperating witnesses that it no longer has to hand out points for good behavior. The question was always how many of these witnesses were ultimately going to be willing to go to prison to protect Donald Trump, now that he no longer has any pardon power. Now we’re getting that answer.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report