Mark Meadows long and winding road

Published August 24, 2023

By Rob Schofield

By any fair assessment, the past decade has been a remarkable period in the life of Mark Randall Meadows. In January 2013 – the first time Meadows was ever mentioned in a substantive NC Newsline report — he was a new and obscure congressman from western North Carolina’s 11th district. The story was entitled “U.S. House OKs Sandy flood aid, four NC Reps. reject relief measure,” and it briefly described how Meadows had joined with a modest-sized group of U.S. House ultra-conservatives to oppose legislation spearheaded by then-Speaker and fellow Republican John Boehner to provide $9.7 billion to help cover flood insurance claims for homeowners and businesses ravaged the previous October by Superstorm Sandy.

Since that time, Meadows was mentioned in dozens of Newsline stories as he enjoyed a meteoric rise from Tea Party firebrand, to House Freedom Caucus founder and leader, to Donald Trump’s last White House Chief of Staff.

Today, Meadows is on staff at a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit called the Conservative Partnership Institute that seeks to counsel and develop conservative politicians and staffers. But he is in the headlines once more because of his involvement – both as witness and, in one case, as an alleged co-conspirator — in the various criminal prosecutions that surround his old boss.

Yesterday, The New York Times outlined what it characterized as a “high-wire legal act” and a “delicate dance with prosecutors” that Meadows has been pursuing ever since leaving the White House in January of 2021.

In reporting on Meadows’ complex mix of silence and cooperation with Special Counsel Jack Smith, the story explained:

“The episode illustrated the wary steps Mr. Meadows took to navigate legal and political peril as prosecutors in Washington and Georgia closed in on Mr. Trump, seeking to avoid being charged himself while also sidestepping the career risks of being seen as cooperating with what his Republican allies had cast as partisan persecution of the former president.”

While it’s far too early to say what all this will ultimately mean for the former president, ABC News reported earlier this week that it could be problematic. The report said that Meadows’ testimony directly contradicted Trump’s contention in the classified documents case that he had, while still president, issued some kind of broad or standing order declassifying documents of the kind that ended up finding their way to his Mar-a-Lago estate.

Other news outlets have been less measured in their descriptions of Meadows’ recent actions.

A Tuesday headline in Salon blared: “Attorney: New bombshell report confirms Mark Meadows ‘ratted out Trump to the Feds'” while a Newsweekstory screamed “Mark Meadows Might Have Just Thrown Donald Trump Under the Bus.”

As, for Meadows, while he has avoided indictment in three of the four cases in which Trump faces criminal charges, in the fourth – the case brought by Georgia prosecutors alleging a complex web of racketeering violations in the effort to overturn the  2020 election results — Meadows has been indicted on two charges: “solicitation of violation of oath by a public officer” and “racketeering,” an offense usually used in prosecutions of organized crime conspiracies.

The following is a brief timeline of some key events from the former North Carolina congressman’s political career.

Nov. 6, 2012 – Meadows is elected to the U.S. House, defeating Democrat Hayden Rogers by nearly 15% of the votes cast.

2013 to 2020 – Meadows represents North Carolina’s 11th congressional district.

Jan. 26, 2015 – Meadows helps co-found the House Freedom caucus with several other Republicans of the far right.

July 28, 2015 – Meadows files an unsuccessful resolution to vote on removing John Boehner as House Speaker, but in the face of ebbing conservative support, Boehner resigns three months later in favor of Paul Ryan.

March 6, 2020 – President Donald Trump taps Rep. Meadows as his Chief of Staff, replacing Mick Mulvaney

Nov. 10, 2020 – Three days after Election Day, Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, texts Meadows pressuring him to continue to challenge the validity of the results. “Help This Great President stand firm, Mark!!!” read one such text.

Nov. 24, 2020 – Meadow writes to Ginni Thomas “This is a fight of good versus evil”  and “The fight continues.”

Dec. 22, 2020 – Meadows makes a surprise visit to Cobb County, Georgia, to observe an audit of absentee ballots

Jan. 2, 2021 – Meadows participates in the now infamous phone call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, in which Trump suggested Raffensperger needed to “find 11,780 votes” helping him overturn the results in Georgia. Joe Biden won the state of Georgia by a 11,779 vote margin.

Jan 27, 2021 – Meadows joins Conservative Partnership Institute as a senior partner. Other notable staffers at CPI include Cleta Mitchell.

Dec. 21, 2021 – Meadows releases his account of his time working as Trump’s Chief of Staff: The Chief’s Chief

April 2022 – Published reports reveal that Meadows was a registered voter simultaneously in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

June 2, 2022 – CNN obtains and releases more than 2,300 text messages that Meadows turned over to the January 6th committee, detailing personal exchanges following Election Day and leading up to the insurrection on January 6th. Here’s one such notable exchange on the afternoon of the 6th as the riots at the capitol grew more violent:

2:53 p.m.: Donald Trump Jr. to Mark Meadows

He’s got to condem this shit. Asap. The captiol police tweet is not enough.

2:54 p.m.: Mark Meadows to Donald Trump Jr.

I am pushing it hard. I agree

June 28, 2022 – Cassidy Hutchinson, Meadows’ legislative aide, testifies before the House select committee investigating the January 6th Capitol riot. Hutchinson testifies that Meadows was warned that the planned events of January 6th could result in possible violence. She also tells the House committee that several Republican members of Congress sought presidential pardons in advance of the riots.

October 2022 – Meadows seeks to avoid testifying before the Fulton County Grand Jury

June 6, 2023 – Meadows testifies before Grand Jury in the Special Counsel’s investigation of Donald Trump, The New York Times reported

Aug. 14,2023 – Meadows is charged along with former president Donald Trump and 17 others by a Fulton County Grand Jury in a conspiracy to overturn the 2020 elections in Georgia. If convicted of violating Georgia’s RICO Act, Meadows could face prison time. In addition to the RICO charge, Meadows stands accused of solicitation of violation of oath by a public officer.

Aug. 15, 2023 – Meadows petitions to have Georgia case moved to federal court

August 22, 2023 – Meadows’ attorneys file a new emergency brief in federal court seeking to move his trial or prevent Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis from ordering his arrest if he does not meet the Friday deadline to turn himself in for booking.

Meadows attached to his motion an email from Willis sent Tuesday morning denying his request for an extension.

“I am not granting any extensions,” Willis wrote. “I gave 2 weeks for people to surrender themselves to the court. Your client is no different than any other criminal defendant in this jurisdiction. The two weeks was a tremendous courtesy. At 12:30 pm on Friday I shall file warrants in the system.”

Aug. 25, 2023 – The deadline for Meadows and others indicted in the Fulton County case to turn themselves in or face arrest.