First published on Aug. 5, 2021; updated on Aug. 8, 2021
Former White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, was directly involved at major intersections of President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. What follows is a detailed timeline of all the publicly available information.
The timeline shows why Meadows may face significant criminal exposure for directly participating in a scheme to pressure the Justice Department to investigate baseless election fraud claims. The timeline also describes a “parallel track” reportedly created by Meadows and Rudy Giuliani, and Meadows’ repeated involvement in Donald Trump and the Trump campaign’s political efforts.
The House Committee on Oversight and Reform sent Meadows a request to appear for a transcribed interview several weeks ago. The evidence below raises, among other questions, whether Congress should coordinate with the Justice Department so as not to tread on any potential criminal investigation, whether the House and Senate committees investigating these matters should make a criminal referral to the Justice Department in the course of their oversight work, and why there is no indication that the Justice Department has started such a criminal investigation on its own initiative. Notably, Meadows would have more difficulty resisting a subpoena to appear before a grand jury than he would a request or subpoena to appear before Congress. Also significant, Meadows may have greater legal exposure than others involved because he presumably understood well when Attorney General William Barr and others informed him that the allegations of widespread election fraud were without any foundation.
Nine highlights from the Timeline below:
1. Meadows and Giuliani created a “parallel track” to raise election fraud claims
2. Trump campaign staff followed up on “Meadows’ theory” that tens of thousands of “illegal aliens” voted in Arizona
3. Meadows helped introduce President Trump to DOJ official Jeffrey Clark, who was plotting to oust the acting attorney general and use the Justice Department to overturn election results in Georgia
4. Meadows expressed upset, along with Trump, in response to Attorney General Barr’s having told the Associated Press there was no election fraud that could have affected the outcome in the election
5. Meadows made a surprise visit to Georgia where he met with the Secretary of State’s lead elections investigator. Trump called her the next day on Meadow’s suggestion and in the call urged her to find fraud in Fulton County
6. Meadows arranged and participated in the call in which Trump asked Georgia Secretary of State Raffensperger to “find 11,780 votes”; and during the call Meadows asked the Georgia officials to share voting data even after they told him they could not because it was protected by law
7. In several communications with the Justice Department—in violation of White House and DOJ contacts policies—Meadows pressured the Department to investigate baseless allegations of election fraud
8. Then-Acting Secretary of Defense’s chief of staff Kash Patel says he spoke to Meadows “nonstop” on Jan. 6
9. In his final days in office, Trump hoped to issue a preemptive pardon for Meadows, Giuliani and possibly himself
Election night: As results are coming in, Giuliani proposes, “just say we won” in several swing states. Meadows reportedly thinks the plan is incoherent and irresponsible.
Meadows thought Giuliani’s argument was both “incoherent and irresponsible,” Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker report. “We can’t do that,” Meadows said, raising his voice. “We can’t.”
On Nov. 4, 2020: The morning after the election, “Cleta Mitchell [is] dispatched by Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, to help the Trump campaign in Georgia,” Jane Mayer reports.
In a radio show, Mitchell says Meadows, who she has “known for many years,” called her on the morning of Nov. 4 asking her to go to Atlanta “because he was worried about Georgia … because [Trump’s lead] kept shrinking.” “Probably if anybody else had called me, I would have said you’re two months late, but because it was Mark Meadows and I love the president, I said yes I’d go help.”
Mitchell does not explain how the chief of staff would have a role in such a political assignment. She appears to alternate between saying she was working on behalf of the president/administration and on behalf of the campaign. She states that she worked in Georgia from Nov. 4 to Jan. 8 and did so on a volunteer, unpaid basis.
Note-1: Mitchell later participates, along with Meadows, in the Jan. 2 phone call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Raffensperger (see entry for Jan. 2 below).
Note-2: For background on Mitchell: Michael S. Schmidt and Kenneth P. Vogel, “Trump Lawyer on Call Is a Conservative Firebrand Aiding His Push to Overturn Election,” New York Times; Jane Mayer, “The Big Money Behind the Big Lie,” New Yorker.
On Nov. 9, 2020: Meadows calls to inform Defense Secretary Mark Esper he is being dismissed for not being “sufficiently loyal.”
Around 1:00 PM, Esper’s chief of staff Jen Stewart receives an email that the president is firing Esper. At the same time, Meadows calls Esper to say “the president’s not happy… And we don’t think you’re sufficiently loyal. You’re going to be replaced. He’s going to announce it this afternoon” (Leonnig and Rucker book).
Four minutes later, Trump tweets: “I am pleased to announce that Christopher C. Miller, the highly respected Director of the National Counterterrorism Center (unanimously confirmed by the Senate), will be Acting Secretary of Defense, effective immediately.”
On or around Nov. 12, 2020: Meadows reportedly tells President Trump that Giuliani has asked him to look into allegations that tens of thousands of “illegal aliens” may have voted in Arizona. Trump campaign staff investigate “Meadows’ theory.”
Meadows tells Trump that Giuliani’s team has asked him to look into the issue. “Professionals on the campaign staff investigated Meadows’s theory,” Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker report, but it proves invalid (emphasis added). The vast majority of the cases were U.S. citizens living abroad who voted legally.
In mid-November 2020: Meadows and Giuliani create a “parallel track” in a joint effort to raise election fraud claims.
The Trump campaign sets up a team in Georgia. However, “a parallel track was underway from the Oval Office where Giuliani and Meadows, who was just returning to work after being sidelined by Covid, started bringing in their own people,” the Wall Street Journal’s Michael Bender reports in his book.
(Meadows returned to the White House on Nov. 16.)
In mid-November-December 2020: Meadows introduces President Trump to Jeffrey Clark who plots to oust the acting Attorney General and overturn results in Georgia. Meadows also introduces the president to Mark Martin, who has radical theories of how Pence can stop certification.
Bender reports that, according to DOJ officials, “Meadows had helped introduce Trump to DOJ attorney Jeffrey Clark, who was putting together a secret plan to oust Rosen, the acting attorney general, and force Georgia to overturn its results” (emphasis added). Meadows denies any involvement.
Note: The New York Times reported that Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), a member of the Freedom Caucus that Meadows helped found, “first made Mr. Trump aware that a relatively obscure Justice Department official, Jeffrey Clark, the acting chief of the civil division, was sympathetic to Mr. Trump’s view that the election had been stolen, according to former administration officials who spoke with Mr. Clark and Mr. Trump.” Perry later confirms the New York Times report. Neither the report, nor Perry mention Meadows.
Following their introduction, Trump communicates and meets with Clark without alerting Justice Department officials in apparent violation of the White House and Department of Justice contacts policies. The New York Times reports:
Department officials were startled to learn that the president had called Mr. Clark directly on multiple occasions and that the two had met in person without alerting Mr. Rosen, those officials said. Justice Department policy stipulates that the president initially communicates with the attorney general or the deputy attorney general on all matters, and then a lower-level official if authorized.
Meadows also reportedly connects President Trump with former North Carolina Supreme Court justice Mark Martin, who told him that Vice President Pence could stop the certification of Electoral College results.
According to Leonnig and Rucker’s book, senior administration officials blamed Meadows for neglecting his gatekeeper role. One senior official said Meadows facilitated the president’s being “exposed to crazy people spouting lunatic theories about the election and his ability to overturn it. That is all Meadows.” Meadows “reinforced [Trump’s] instincts,” they said. Politico also reports, “many blamed [Meadows] for feeding Trump’s belief that he won the election.”
Around Thanksgiving: Meadows acknowledges to the White House communications director that he knows Trump lost the election.
Alyssa Farah reportedly tells Meadows she wants to step down as communications director. “We need to give a graceful exit and acknowledge that Biden won,” she tells Meadows. “I know, I know,” Meadows says. “We’re going to get the president there.” Earlier in the month, Meadows had multiple conversations with Sen. Mitch McConnell in which Meadows assured that “they would pursue all potential avenues but recognized that they might come up short” and that “Trump would eventually bow to reality and accept defeat,” the New York Times reported.
Despite what he told McConnell and Farah. “Meadows couldn’t get the president to acknowledge the reality that he had lost. There wasn’t any indication that he had even tried,” Leonnig and Rucker report.
Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020: In White House meetings, Meadows and President Trump express displeasure with Barr for telling news media the Justice Department had found no election fraud that could have changed the outcome of the election.
In the early afternoon, the Associated Press publishes an interview with Barr, in which the Attorney General said, “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”
Barr attends a previously scheduled meeting with Meadows at 3:00 PM. Pat Cipollone joins the meeting. “Surprisingly to Barr, Meadows hated” the news story, but the chief of staff also seemed to acknowledge the election outcome, Leonnig and Rucker report.
President Trump hears Barr is in the White House and asks to see him. According to Leonnig and Rucker, President Trump yells at Barr about the AP report while Meadows is present. Present in the meeting as well are Will Levi, Barr’s chief of staff; Eric Herschmann, senior White House adviser (who earlier served as a personal attorney on Trump’s first impeachment team); and Pat Cipollone, White House Counsel. Bender described President Trump’s reaction in the meeting as a “volcanic eruption.”
Barr responds in the meeting by stating that Trump’s allegations of election fraud are completely false. Barr calls the allegations, “bullshit,” and that Trump’s legal team is a “clown show” (reporting by Leonnig and Rucker; Bender, Jonathan Karl). “No self-respecting lawyer is going anywhere near it. It’s just a joke. That’s why you are where you are,” Barr says in the meeting.
Leonnig and Rucker also report the following part of the exchange:
“Bill, did you say this?” Trump said, his voice sharp and quick. “Yeah,” Barr said. “I said it.”
“How could you say that?” Trump asked.
Barr replied that his statement was true, and that he was merely answering the reporter’s question.
“Why didn’t you just not answer the question?” Trump said.
Then the president, his voice getting higher, switched oddly to speak of himself in the third person.
“There’s no reason for you to have said this!” he said. “You must hate Trump!”
“We’ve looked into these things, and they’re nonsense,” Barr says in the meeting.
On the specifics, “It’s complete nonsense,” Barr says about an allegation that Pennsylvania ballots had been backdated, and that there was no evidence of ballot stuffing in Georgia. Barr also explains in detail why Trump’s allegations of fraud in Wayne County, Michigan were false. “There’s no evidence of substantial fraud that would change the election,” Barr reiterates.
“Meadows sat silently on the opposite side of the dining room, with his arms crossed, a posture that seemed to say, This is DOJ’s problem,” Leonnig and Rucker report (see also Karl). Cipollone, in contrast, “at one point interjected to tell the president that Barr’s department had been dutifully investigating the fraud claims.”
After Barr leaves the room, the president tells Meadows he had every reason to and should fire Barr (Leonnig and Rucker).
As indicated, the meeting is reported in three different books. “The details of this meeting were described to me by several people present,” Karl writes.
Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020: Meadows asks Attorney General Barr to stay until the end of the term.
Meadows calls Barr early in the morning to ask him to stay until the end of the term. According to Bender, “Barr agreed, and immediately regretted it.” Barr resigned on Dec. 14 and was replaced by Jeffrey Rosen.
Karl reports the following exchange:
“I think there’s a way through this,” Meadows told him. He could prevent Trump from firing him, but he wanted an assurance from Barr that he wouldn’t resign. “Are you willing to stay?” Meadows asked.
“I’m not going to sandbag you,” Barr said. “I will give you a warning if I’m going to leave, and No. 2, I’ll stay as long as I’m needed.”
Friday, Dec. 11, 2020: Trump decides not to fire Gina Haspel, despite Meadows’ attempts to have her removed.
As rumors circulate that Haspel is going to be fired, she attends a routine intelligence briefing and reminds Trump “of how effective the CIA had been on her watch.” After the meeting, Trump asks Pence, Cipollone, and Kellogg whether he should fire her. Pence speaks strongly in her favor: “Gina’s done a lot for this nation… She’s done a lot of heavy lifting.” Kellogg agrees, “She killed a lot of bad guys.” Trump decides she can keep her position (Leonnig and Rucker book).
Meadows reportedly “had a burr under his saddle about Haspel” and “questioned her loyalty to Trump and indicated he wanted a more politically supportive leader at the CIA,” according to Leonnig and Rucker. He tells Haspel that he has offered Kash Patel the deputy CIA director position, unaware that the president has changed his mind. Haspel threatens to resign. Meadows has to “swallow his pride and reverse the order,” according to Axios.
Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley warns Meadows about making personnel moves.
Gen. Milley reportedly confronts Meadows, asks if Trump and he are planning to replace FBI Director Wray or CIA Director Haspel, and warns Meadows. “Just be careful,” says the Chairman, who is concerned at the time that Trump will try to hold onto power. “Milley wanted Meadows to know that he was watching. Did anyone think the leaders of the U.S. military were idiots? He wanted the White House to understand that he was drawing hard boundaries,” Leonnig and Rucker write.
Friday, Dec. 18, 2020: Meadows and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone push back on radical ideas being proposed to address alleged election fraud in a meeting with President Trump, Sidney Powell, and Michael Flynn.
Meadows participates in a meeting at the White House with the president, attorney Sidney Powell, retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, former Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne, and former Trump administration official, Emily Newman, who works on Powell’s legal team. Others who join the meeting in person or by phone include Cipollone, Herschmann, national security adviser Robert O’Brien, White House staff secretary Derek Lyons, Giuliani, and Trump campaign lawyer Matt Morgan.
Trump reportedly discusses appointing Powell as special counsel overseeing an investigation of voter fraud, but “[m]ost of his advisors” are opposed to the idea. “Meadows indicated that he was trying to wrap his mind around what exactly Powell’s role would entail. He told Powell she would have to fill out the SF-86 questionnaire before starting as special counsel,” Axios reported.
Trump also asks about Flynn’s idea to impose martial law and deploy the military to “rerun” the election. Another one of the ideas includes commandeering voting machines. Cipollone and Meadows “repeatedly and aggressively” push back on the ideas being proposed, according to the New York Times report.
Flynn accused Meadows and other senior advisers of being quitters. “Don’t you dare challenge me about whether I’m being supportive of the president and working hard,” Meadows shouted back, according to Axios.
Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020: Meadows visits Georgia to observe the audit of absentee ballot envelope signatures and meets with the Georgia Secretary of State’s lead elections investigator, Frances Watson.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Meadows’ visit to the Cobb County Civic Center where absentee ballot signatures are being reviewed. Georgia Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs greets him and prevents him from entering the room where the signature audits are being conducted.
Meadows meets with Frances Watson, the lead elections investigator in the Georgia Secretary of State’s office (Leonnig and Rucker book; transcript of phone call with Trump).
Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020: At Meadows’ suggestion, President Trump calls Frances Watson, the lead elections investigator in the Georgia Secretary of State’s office.
The following day, President Trump urges Watson to find “dishonesty” to help overturn the state’s election results, and says she will be “praised” for doing so. The president urges her to match ballot signatures with older signatures and to look at votes in Fulton County. Watson sounds flattered to receive the call but is cautious and does not reveal any details about the investigation.
During the call, President Trump says Meadows had suggested that he call Watson. The president also says, “Well you have a big fan in our great chief, right? Chief of staff, Mark,” and “I just wanted to thank you for everything. He told me you’ve been great.”
A transcript and audio recording are available.
Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020: President Trump tells Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue and Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen to “just say that the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me and the R. Congressmen.”
The Committee on Oversight and Reform obtained handwritten notes taken by Donoghue during a meeting with Trump and Rosen.
According to Donoghue’s contemporaneous notes, Rosen said “the DOJ can’t + won’t snap its fingers + change the outcome of the election, doesn’t work that way.” According to the notes, Trump responds, “Don’t expect you to do that, just say that the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me and the R. Congressmen.” The DOJ officials push back and say “Sir, we have done layers of investigation… We are doing our job. Much of the info you’re getting is false.”
At the end of the call, Trump appears to threaten to fire DOJ senior leaders. The notes read: “People tell me Jeff Clark is great, I should put him in. People want me to replace DOJ leadership.”
It has not been reported whether Meadows took part in this call.
Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020: President Trump’s White House personal assistant, Molly Michael, circulates a draft complaint alleging six states violated the Electors Clause of Article II, Section 1, Clause 2, to Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue, and Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall. In the email, she notes that the draft complaint was shared with Meadows.
Molly Michael, Trump’s White House personal assistant, uses her official White House email account to send Rosen, Donoghue, and Wall a draft complaint to file before the Supreme Court to overturn election results in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Nevada. The complaint alleges the six states violated the Electors Clause or the Fourteenth Amendment by allowing non-legislative acts to change election rules.
She states the president has asked her to send the draft and that she has “also shared with Mark Meadows and Pat Cipollone.”
Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020: Meadows meets with White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, Deputy White House Counsel Patrick Philbin, Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue, and Assistant Attorney General Steven Engel to discuss (wild, baseless) allegations of election fraud.
Documents obtained by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform indicate Meadows met with Donoghue, Cipollone, Philbin, Rosen, and Engel on Dec. 29 to discuss allegations of election fraud.
In particular, Donoghue notes: “advised that we are looking at the claim that certification > # of votes cast” in Pennsylvania.
The group also discusses Arturo D’Elio, an employee at Leonardo S.p.A, an Italian company specializing in aerospace, defense, and security. Donoghue writes in his notes that D’Elio “claims involvement in vote changing in US 2020” and that it was “in coordination w/CIA offices in Embassy.”
Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020: Cassidy Hutchinson, legislative advisor to Meadows, emails Georgia Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs to set up a call.
In the email, obtained by American Oversight, Hutchinson writes “I just spoke to Chief Meadows regarding his visit with you in Cobb County last week. When you have a moment, could you please give me a call”
On the phone call, Hutchinson reportedly asks Fuchs if there was anything the White House could do to show appreciation to the people conducting the audit, according to a Reuters report. An anonymous source told Reutters the call was just an attempt by Meadows to “smooth things over” since investigators had been working through the holidays and were reportedly discouraged by Trump’s tweet that they were being “very slow.”
Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020: Meadows twice emails Acting Attorney General Jeffery Rosen about (baseless) allegations of fraudulent activity during the 2020 election.
According to records obtained by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, Meadows emails Rosen twice from his White House email account.
At 9:31 AM, Meadows forwards an email from one of President Trump’s personal lawyers, Cleta Mitchell, referring to allegations of “video issues in Fulton County” and “the equipment / software.” Meadows asks Rosen: “Can you have your team look into these allegations of wrongdoing. Only the alleged fraudulent activity” (no question mark in original).
As CNN’s Jeremy Herb explains, “Meadows appeared to be the go-between between Giuliani’s team and Rosen. He forwarded an email from Cleta Mitchell, an attorney who worked with Giuliani, laying out their claims about fraud in Georgia.”
Note: Mitchell appears to have sent the email to a different email address for Meadows who then forwards it to his own White House email account before sending it to the Justice Department.
At 9:43 AM, Meadows emails Rosen an image of a translated letter from Carlo Goria, an individual in Italy, who claims to have “direct knowledge” of activities undertaken in Italy to manipulate the electoral vote. The letter claims Leonardo S.p.A, an Italian company specializing in aerospace, defense, and security, coordinated with the CIA to use “advanced military encryption capabilities” to change the election result. It involves the wild conspiracy theory discussed in the phone call with Meadows and senior White House and Justice Department officials the day before.
In early January 2021: Meadows is likely contacted by Amy Kremer, an organizer of the Jan. 6 rally out of concern about plans for that day.
Women for America First, a conservative group supporting Trump, obtains a permit to gather on the White House Ellipse, but not for an organized march, while Stop the Steal, another more radical conservative group supporting Trump, obtains a permit to rally on Capitol grounds. Amy Kremer, leader of Women for America First and an organizer of the Jan. 6 rally, likely contacts Meadows with safety concerns that Ali Alexander, the leader of Stop the Steal, and his allies are planning an organized march, which would violate the Women for America First permit and potentially create legal liability for the organizers. It is unclear how far Kremer or other Women for America First organizers went to notify Meadows or other officials about their fears, according to a deep investigative report by ProPublica. “Senior White House officials, including Meadows, were involved in the broader effort to limit Alexander’s role on Jan. 6,” reported the news outlet. Alexander spoke instead at the rally the day before where he led a crowd of Trump supporters in a “victory, or death” chant.
Friday, Jan. 1, 2021: Meadows sends Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen (baseless) claims of election fraud and pressures him to investigate the allegations.
Meadows sends Rosen multiple emails from his White House email account with allegations of election fraud in Georgia and New Mexico.
At 3:08 PM, Meadows sends Rosen an email containing a link to a Youtube video, which is now unavailable, with the subject line: “Brad Johnson: Rome, Satellites, Servers: an Update- Youtube.” Rosen forwards the email to Acting Deputy Attorney General Donoghue, who responds at 3:39 PM saying, “Pure Insanity.” In the video, former CIA station chief, Brad Johnson, reportedly discusses “Italygate,” a conspiracy theory that individuals working for an Italian defense contractor collaborated with the CIA to change the election result.
At 4:13 PM, Meadows emails Rosen again saying, “There have been allegations of signature match anomalies in Fulton county, Ga. Can you get Jeff Clark to engage on this issue immediately to determine if there is any truth to this allegation” (no question mark in the original) (emphasis added). Rosen forwards the email to Donoghue noting that he is not going to respond to Meadows. “Can you believe this? I am not going to respond to the message below,” the acting attorney general writes.
At 6:56 PM, Meadows sends Rosen another email with “New Mexico List of Complaints” in the subject line, and asks the acting attorney general to forward it to his team to review the allegations. The list includes complaints that “Poll Challengers were unable to adequately do their job,” “Many Anomalies” with Dominion Machines, and “Other Irregularities,” such as “Multiple documented cases of dead people voting.”
Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021: Meadows arranges a call with President Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to discuss allegations of election fraud in Georgia.
Note: Following Meadows’ email the day before asking Rosen to get Jeff Clark to engage immediately on purported anomalies in Fulton County, Clark emails Rosen at 9:50 AM writing, “I spoke to the source and am on with the guy who took the video right now. Working on it. More due diligence to do.”
Meadows reportedly arranges (Reuters; Leonig and Rucker book) the call in which President Trump asks Raffensperger to “find 11,780 votes.” Trump had tried to reach the Georgia Secretary of State eighteen times before finally doing so that Saturday at about 3:00 PM. Meadows set up the call through Georgia Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs. When Fuchs asked what Trump wanted to speak about, Meadows reportedly did not give clear direction.
Others on the call include Trump campaign lawyer Kurt Hilbert, Alex Kaufman, and Cleta Mitchell. Other Georgia officials include Fuchs and General Counsel to Georgia’s Secretary of State Ryan Germany.
During the call, Meadows says he is hopeful they “can find some kind of agreement” and “find a path forward that’s less litigious.”
Meadows also asks for access to the Georgia Secretary of State’s election data (time stamp: 56:45), but Germany refuses, explaining that such access would violate the law (time stamp: 57:45). Despite the explanation, Meadows continues to suggest they share the data and even tells Germany and Hilbert to get together after the call “and work out a plan” to provide access to the data (time stamp: 58:50). Finally, Meadows promises there were more than “two dead people” who voted in the election (time stamp: 59:11).
Commentators raise concerns that Meadows’ particular involvement in the call as White House chief of staff may violate the Hatch Act in addition to potential criminal liability for interfering with election officials counting votes.
Note: In a subsequent conservative radio show interview, Mitchell calls Raffensperger “a pathological liar.”
The transcript and audio recording of the call is available here.
Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021: Meadows faces criticism after audio from the previous day’s call is released to the Washington Post.
Trump tweets, “I spoke to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger yesterday about Fulton County and voter fraud in Georgia. He was unwilling, or unable, to answer questions such as the ‘ballots under table’ scam, ballot destruction, out of state ‘voters,’ dead voters, and more. He has no clue!”
Raffensperger responds to the tweet, “Respectfully, President Trump: What you’re saying is not true. The truth will come out.” He then shares the recording of the Jan. 2 call with the Washington Post. After the call leaks, other Trump advisers “blasted Meadows” for having arranged the call. Larry Kudlow asks,“Mark, did you think for one minute that the call would not be leaked in its entirety?… Are we children here or are we adults?… What were you thinking?” In response, Meadows claims “I couldn’t stop the president. I tried, but I couldn’t stop him” (Leonnig and Rucker book).
Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021: Eric Hovakimian, Associate Deputy Attorney General and advisor to Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, drafts an email announcing his and Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue’s resignation in anticipation that Rosen would be fired by President Trump.
A document obtained by POLITICO reveals that Hovakimian is concerned that Trump will fire Rosen. After Rosen and Donoghue depart for a meeting at the White House with the president, Hovakimian drafts the resignation email on his and Donoghue’s behalf. The first line includes the following statement:
“Acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen over the course of the last week repeatedly refused the President’s direct instructions to utilize the Department of Justice’s law enforcement powers for improper ends.”
A copy of the draft email is available here.
Sunday, Jan. 3: White House meeting with Defense Department officials in advance of Jan. 6.
At 5:30 PM, Meadows attends a meeting about Iranian threats at the White House that includes Miller and Milley. At the end of the meeting, President Trump turns to Jan. 6 and tells the Defense Department, “Do whatever is necessary to protect demonstrators that were executing their constitutionally protected rights,” according to Miller’s testimony.
Note: In their book, Leonnig and Rucker report that Trump said, “Just make sure it’s all safe,” and Milley thought that sounded pretty benign.
Others at the meeting include Patel, O’Brien, Cipollone, and Pompeo.
Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021: Meadows is with President Trump throughout the day.
In the morning, Meadows joins Trump in the Oval Office, along with Stephen Miller, Pence’s National Security Advisor Keith Kellogg, attorney Eric Herschmann, Ivanka Trump, and other members of the Trump family. Trump tries to gauge the size of the crowd on the Ellipse and calls Pence about overturning the election.
Shortly after, Meadows attends the “Save America” rally alongside President Trump and his supporters. Trump Jr. records a video of Meadows, Trump’s advisor Kimberly Guilfoyle, and others playing music backstage. Trump gives a speech to his supporters and concludes with a call to action, asking his supporters to march to the Capitol.
Trump returns to the White House, where Meadows joins him to watch the events unfold on television. After Ivanka Trump sees rioters are inside the Capitol, she goes back and forth to the Oval office and attempts to persuade President Trump to order his supporters to disperse. Meadows reportedly asks Ivanka Trump to come back multiple times to help him persuade Trump to take action (see also New York Times report).
Former White House communication director, Alyssa Farah, reaches out to Meadows several times and tells him, “You guys have to say something.” “Even if the president’s not willing to put out a statement, you should go to the [cameras] and say, ‘We condemn this. Please stand down.’ If you don’t, people are going to die.” D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser personally asks Meadows for help twice. Sarah Matthews, a deputy press secretary, reached out to Ben Williamson, an adviser to Meadows to get the president to issue a statement against the violence, but to no avail.
Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short calls Meadows to inform him the vice president was protected and that they intended to stay and finish their work once it was safe. Meadows reportedly replies that he thought it was appropriate for Pence to continue his work.
Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller’s chief of staff Kash Patel has said, “I was talking to Meadows, nonstop that day.”
At 4:39 PM, after the President issues remarks via Twitter, Miller reportedly updates Meadows on the status of removing protestors from the Capitol complex. McConnell joins the call at different points. McConnell is furious and insists the Pentagon act to clear the Capitol.
Jan. 7-20: Meadows, Miller and Pompeo reportedly have a daily phone call to ensure the peaceful transfer of power.
Jan. 7-20: Trump reportedly wants to issue preemptive pardons for Meadows, Guiliani, and possibly himself, but the White House Counsel threatens to hold a news conference and resign.
President Donald Trump has prepared a sweeping list of individuals he’s hoping to pardon in the final days of his administration that includes senior White House officials …
Preemptive pardons are under discussion for top White House officials who have not been charged with crimes, including Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
White House Counsel Cipollone reportedly tells Meadows that such pardons would smack of—and quite possibly constitute—obstruction of justice, says many of his senior lawyers would resign en masse, and threatens to hold a news conference to resign and publicly announce their strong objections. Trump backs down.
Friday, Feb. 11, 2021: Meadows claims on The Ingraham Angle that President Trump “took immediate action” on January 6th.
Meadows claims “we took immediate action” and tells viewers that Trump “wanted our National Guard to be on the ready for any civil unrest that might be there.”
The full exchange follows:
INGRAHAM: One of the big things that they pushed today and yesterday was that the president didn’t immediately come out on camera and immediately tweet go home, stop this, this is horrible what’s happening, this is not what we’re about. Why didn’t he?
MEADOWS: Well, I can tell you we took immediate action. One of the things that has not has not been told yet is the fact that not only the president wanted to make sure everybody was safe but he literally at the very first said we need to make sure that they have the resources.
You know that that’s not being told, the fact that he wanted our National Guard to be on the ready for any civil unrest that might be there and so he tweeted out a number of things as we were looking at some of this unfold. What we now know happened actually was not as graphic is was laid out over the last couple of days because we were seeing little bits and snippets but he condemned it and wanted to make sure that we respected law and order and was very forceful in that.
Friday, Feb. 12, 2021: Meadows claims on Hannity that President Trump moved quickly to deploy the National Guard on January 6th.
Meadows claims President Trump moved quickly to deploy the National Guard and that former acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller could confirm his account.
The full exchange follows:
HANNITY: “It was related to the fact about whether or not the president delayed in sending — or requesting National Guard troops. Did he ask for troops before the 6th, that day, and what time?
MEADOWS: Yeah, two days before that. So, you know, everybody can do that. I think Secretary of Defense Miller will be glad to back me up on this.
But more importantly, Democrat governors and Democrat mayors, throughout the summer, they can back me up on it because I made personal phone calls to them. Every time that there was not only violence there, the president was swift to call and say we want to offer help. But he offered help on this particular day, more than 48 hours before.
I can tell you, when I got the phone call — I didn’t ever get a phone call from Speaker Pelosi, but from Mayor Bowser, the answer was immediate and yes, and that’s what we focused on.
And so, again, another false narrative by some of the Democrat House managers to suggest anything other than a very deliberate and quick action on the part of President Trump.
Journalists understood Meadows to be claiming the president reacted immediately in dispatching the Guard. Meadows appeared to be reiterating President Trump’s earlier claim. In prepared remarks on Jan. 7, President Trump said, “I immediately deployed the National Guard and federal law enforcement to secure the building and expel the intruders.”
[See entry on May 12 for Miller’s testimony contradicting President Trump and Meadows’s statements.]
Wednesday, May 12, 2021: Miller testifies that President Trump played no role in the Defense Department’s actions on Jan. 6 and contradicts Meadows’s prior statement.
In his written testimony, Miller states, “I also want to address questions that have been raised in regard to the President’s involvement in the response. He had none with respect to the Department of Defense efforts on January 6.” This statement contradicts President Trump’s Jan. 7 statement and Meadows’ Feb. 12 assertion that Trump took immediate action and activated the National Guard.