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Maddow Blog | Meadows is reportedly the latest to receive grand jury subpoena

MSNBC 2/16/2023 Steve Benen

We learned last week that Special Counsel Jack Smith, as part of his criminal investigations into Donald Trump, was starting to issue grand jury subpoenas to some highly prominent figures, including former Vice President Mike Pence. The latest Wall Street Journal reporting suggests that list is still growing in important ways.

Though CNN published a report on the same developments, this has not yet been independently verified by MSNBC or NBC News.

Time will tell how Meadows responds to the apparent subpoena, and if recent history is any guide, it’s likely he’ll invoke executive privilege in the hopes of answering key questions. It’s also likely that this won’t work: He tried this tack in response to a subpoena from a special grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia, and a judge soon after ordered Meadows to testify anyway.

What’s more, whether Meadows joins the list of Team Trump members asserting his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination also remains to be seen.

What’s far clearer, however, is just how important the former White House chief of staff is to the larger investigation into Trump’s efforts to claim illegitimate power after his 2020 defeat. Indeed, by some measures, Meadows might very well be the single most important witness in the entire investigation.

It was Meadows who was with Trump in the Oval Office during the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. It was Meadows who was involved in the fake electors scheme. It was Meadows who was in frequent communication with far-right GOP lawmakers about efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. It was Meadows who allegedly — and quite literally — set fire to documents in a White House fireplace, several times, after having important post-election meetings.

It was also Meadows who reportedly told Cassidy Hutchinson, one of his top aides, that “things might get real, real bad” on Jan. 6.

As for the timing of these latest developments, if you’re wondering why it took so long for Justice Department investigators to subpoena Meadows, you’re not alone.

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