Mark Meadows Takes the Stand in a Bid to Push Georgia’s Election Case

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows took the witness stand in an Atlanta courthouse Monday as part of his effort to file two criminal charges in Georgia, accusing him of conspiring with former President Donald Trump to overturn the results. of the 2020 state elections, at the federal level. court.

Meadows, 64, faced cross-examination by both his attorney and a lawyer representing Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’s office during the hearing in the United States District Court for the Northern District. of Georgia, where he argued that the actions he took to investigate the Peach 2020 state election results fell within the scope of his broad and unpredictable role as Trump’s chief of staff.

The hearing concluded late Monday, and Federal Judge Steve Jones indicated he would rule on the removal request at a later date, but did not give a timetable.

One by one, Meadows’ attorney, George Terwilliger, listed the activities highlighted in the Fulton County grand jury indictment against him, including a visit to a Cobb County polling place and scheduling a call with election officials. of Georgia to discuss the disputed ballots.

Marcos MeadowsMeadows argues that his Georgia case should be tried in federal court. PA
Mark Meadows and Donald TrumpMeadows is one of Trump’s 18 co-defendants in Georgia. AFP via Getty Images

For more than an hour, the former White House official insisted that all of his actions fell within the purview of his federal role, and therefore Willis’s case against him should be heard in federal court.

Georgia state prosecutors say his actions fell outside the scope of his federal charge and were more in line with Trump’s official re-election campaign.

“I would try to be aware of everything that was going on,” Meadows said on the witness stand. “The campaign never paid me, I never supervised the campaign. They had their own structure.”

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Meadows said he got involved in the election controversy because federal interests were involved, including maintaining “free and fair elections,” managing his boss’s time and the possibility of executive orders being issued as Trump fought to stay in power. .

fanny willisWillis has accused Meadows of violating state racketeering laws and soliciting an official to violate his oath of office.Getty Images

Anna Cross, an attorney representing the Fulton County District Attorney’s office, repeatedly attempted to undermine Meadows’ image during cross-examination, relentlessly asking her what federal policy interests were “advancing” her actions.

“Would you agree, Mr. Meadows, that acting solely to further a campaign objective or interest is outside the role of chief of staff?” he asked the former North Carolina congressman.

Meadows denied ever deviating from his official position.

“Serving the President of the United States – and I want to make this clear, Your Honor – takes all forms,” he argued.

Cross also criticized Meadows for contacting a Georgia election official and asking if a signature verification process could be expedited if they donated money for the process.

That, he said, was an explicit offer of campaign money to impact the electoral process.

Meadows responded that he was simply trying to resolve election issues at Trump’s behest while also managing the transfer of power duties to the Biden administration.

“He was trying to land the plane,” Meadows argued.

Meadows, who was booked into the Fulton County Jail last week on charges of violating Georgia’s Corrupt and Mafioso Influenced Organizations (RICO) statute and soliciting an official to violate his oath of office, is charged with participating in a January 2021 phone call between Trump, 77, and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, during which the former president suggested that Raffensperger could help “find the 11,780 votes” needed to win the state.

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“The president of the United States wanted to resolve this issue and I understood that we had to get everyone together,” Meadows said of the infamous Monday call.

At one point, Meadows described a meeting with Trump and former Attorney General Bill Barr, where Barr dismissed the then-president’s allegations of voter fraud.

“He just said a lot of it was without merit. Part of it, to use his term, was nonsense,” Meadows said of what Barr, who resigned from the Trump administration in December 2020, told the then-president.

Marcos MeadowsMeadows turned himself in to Fulton County authorities last week after an emergency motion to avoid his arrest was denied. PA

Meadows noted during his testimony that he found Cobb County’s vote count process clean and professional and that he conveyed that assessment to Trump.

He denied doing two acts listed in the indictment, including asking White House Director of Personnel John McEntee to draft a memo to then-Vice President Mike Pence about delaying the certification of election results and sending text messages to the Chief Investigator in the office of Georgia Secretary of State Frances Watson.

“When this came out in the indictment, it was the biggest surprise to me,” Meadows said.

“My asking Johnny McEntee for this type of memo just didn’t happen,” he said.

Bill BarrMeadows revealed that former Attorney General Bill Barr called some of Trump’s voter fraud allegations “baloney.” Getty Images

Cross ended his cross-examination by showing an email exchange Meadows had with former Trump campaign manager Jason Miller, where he refers to them collectively as “us.”

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Meadows is among at least five of 18 Trump co-defendants in Georgia seeking to take their case to federal court, including former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, former Georgia Republican Party chairman David Shafer, the Georgia State Senator Shawn Still and former Coffee County Republican Chairwoman Cathy Latham.

Last week, the US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia denied Meadows’ emergency request to prevent his arrest by Fulton County authorities in the case.

John McEnteeMeadows denied asking White House personnel director John McEntee to draft a memo to then-Vice President Mike Pence on how to delay certification of the 2020 election results. The Washington Post via Getty Images

Raffensperger also took the stand Monday, telling the judge that Meadows contacted him repeatedly after the state’s votes had already been certified. He refused to call her back on several occasions because he felt it was inappropriate.

“The communication up to this point was extraordinary,” Raffensperger said, noting that he and his wife received threats after Trump repeatedly criticized their handling of the Georgia voting process.

He said he finally agreed to a call with Meadows, Trump and several lawyers after they pressured him to do so.

Cross played audio of the call on Monday, with a clearly agitated Trump demanding access to voter data and claiming widespread fraud.

After receiving pushback, Trump exclaimed: “Are you allowed to have a fake election?”

Prosecutors argued that Meadows violated the Hatch Act with his actions, which prohibit members of the executive branch, except the president and vice president, from participating in certain political activities.

Terwilliger backed down from his closure, arguing that state officials should not be able to define the duties of a presidential chief of staff.

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