Mark Meadows testifies to grand jury in Special Counsel’s investigation of Trump

June 8, 2023

Mark Meadows, the final White House chief of staff of President Donald Trump’s administration—and a potentially key figure in inquiries related to Trump—has testified before a federal grand jury hearing evidence in the investigations being led by the Special Counsel’s Office, according to two people briefed on the matter, reports The New York Times .

Meadows is a figure in both of the two distinct lines of inquiry being pursued by Jack Smith, the special counsel appointed to oversee the Justice Department’s scrutiny of Trump.

One inquiry is focused on Trump’s efforts to cling to power after losing the 2020 election, culminating in the attack by a pro-Trump mob on the Capitol during congressional certification of the Electoral College results on January 6, 2021. The other is an investigation into Trump’s handling of hundreds of classified documents after he left office and, in particular, whether he obstructed efforts to retrieve them.

It is not clear precisely when Meadows testified or if investigators questioned him about one or both of the cases.

For months, people in Trump’s orbit have been puzzled by and wary about the low profile kept by Meadows in the investigations. As reports surfaced of one witness after another going into the grand jury or to be interviewed by federal investigators, Meadows has kept largely out of sight, and some of Trump’s advisers believe he could be a significant witness in the inquiries.

Trump, himself, has at times asked aides questions about how , Meadows is doing, according to a person familiar with the remarks.

Asked about the grand jury testimony, a lawyer for Meadows, George Terwilliger, said, “Without commenting on whether or not … Meadows has testified before the grand jury or in any other proceeding, … Meadows has maintained a commitment to tell the truth where he has a legal obligation to do so.”

Meadows was a polarizing figure at the White House among some of Trump’s aides, who saw him as a loose gatekeeper at best during a final year in which the former president moved aggressively to mold the government in his image.

Meadows was around for pivotal moments leading up to and after the 2020 election, as Trump plotted to try to stay in office and thwart Joe Biden. from being sworn in to succeed him. Some of them were described in hundreds of text messages that Meadows turned over to the House select committee that investigated the January 6 attack at the Capitol before he decided to stop cooperating. Those texts served as a road map for House investigators.

But Meadows also has insight into efforts by the National Archives to retrieve roughly two dozen boxes of presidential material that officials had been told Trump took with him when he left the White House in January 2021. Meadows was one of Trump’s representatives to the archives, and he had some role in trying to discuss the matter with Trump, according to two people briefed on the matter.

Meadows is also now connected tangentially to a potentially vital piece of evidence that investigators uncovered in recent months—an audio recording of an interview that Trump gave to two people assisting Meadows in writing a memoir of his White House years.

Meadows did not attend the meeting, which took place in July 2021 at Trump’s club at Bedminster, New Jersey. During the meeting, Trump referred to a document he appeared to have in front of him and suggested that he should have declassified it but that he no longer could, since he was out of office.

That recording could undercut Trump’s claim that he believed he had declassified all material still held at his properties for months after he left office.

Research contact: @nytimes