Rumors of former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows “flipping” on former President Donald Trump are again swirling following word that Meadows told investigators for Special Counsel Jack Smith that he does not recall his former boss ever talking about or ordering the declassification of broad sets of classified materials before leaving the White House.
Meadows also said he was not aware of any “standing order” from President Trump that would authorize the automatic declassification of materials removed from the White House, sources familiar told ABC News.
If true, Meadows directly contradicted Trump’s insistent claims that he “declassified everything.”
— BizPac Review (@BIZPACReview) September 22, 2022
Indeed, it would seem Meadows is trying to distance himself in the eyes of Smith’s investigators from anything to do with the classified materials.
He told investigators that he wasn’t involved in packing any boxes that Trump ultimately took to Mar-a-Lago, didn’t see Trump packing any boxes, and didn’t know Trump had removed any government records, classified or otherwise, according to ABC News’s sources.
He did say, however, that he offered to go through the boxes and return any official records after the National Archives first requested that Trump return them in 2021, the sources said, however Trump turned him down.
Meadows did tell investigators that he requested that a paragraph in an early draft of his book, “The Chief’s Chief,” be removed. The paragraph described a classified war plan that was “on the couch” at Trump’s office in Bedminister, New Jersey, during a meeting between Meadows’ ghostwriter, his publicist, and the former President — but not Meadows, Meadows reportedly asked that it be changed because it would be “problematic” if Trump had that document in his possession.
— BizPac Review (@BIZPACReview) June 30, 2023
Only once while serving as Trump’s Chief of Staff, Meadows told investigators, did he see Trump declassify documents, and those were from the FBI’s now thoroughly debunked “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation.
“That order, in the final days of Trump’s time in the White House, has been a subject of dispute, however, as the Justice Department has resisted publicly releasing the purported documents at issue,” ABC News reports.
According to a Trump spokesperson, the DOJ and the special counsel “have resorted to selectively leaking incomplete information that lacks proper context because they know they can’t win inside a courtroom, so now they are trying to deceive Americans through the court of public opinion.”
“This witch-hunt is nothing more than a desperate attempt to interfere in the 2024 election,” the spokesperson said in a statement to ABC News, “as President Trump dominates the polls and is the only person who will take back the White House.”
Though Republican presidential hopeful Chris Christie suggested earlier this month that Meadows had flipped on Trump, Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara told ABC News’s “This Week” on Sunday that he thought that was “unlikely.”
“I don’t think he’s flipped,” Bharara said. “We have a situation in which he has been charged in the Georgia case and it’s unlikely that you’re charged and defendant in one case, but you flipped in a related case. So I don’t know that he’s cooperating.”
Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara tells @JonKarl that former chief of staff Mark Meadows’ testimony to special counsel investigators “undercuts” former Pres. Trump’s “laughable” theory that he could “telepathically or automatically declassify something.” https://t.co/8hteywpOak pic.twitter.com/ZHSVraZMHf
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) August 20, 2023
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