Meadows claims Jan. 6 assault came from 'a handful of lunatics' with no connection to Trump

As more details from Mark Meadow’s upcoming memoirs are dribbled out, it’s clear that far from offering up any revelations that will inform investigations into the Jan. 6 assault, the book really has one purpose: to demonstrate Meadow’s unflinching obedience to Trump and his conscience-free support for the Big Lie.

On Thursday, The Guardian revealed more passages from Meadows’ book, including those directly related to the Jan. 6 rally and the assault on the Capitol. Throughout the section, Meadows works to both downplay Trump’s actions on that day and dismiss the thousands of people who swarmed the Capitol seeking to kill Mike Pence and members of Congress. And more than anything else, Mark Meadows seems to edit Mark Meadows out of any possible connection to the insurgency—including leaving out meetings and memos already known to exist.

And when it comes to the actual attack, Meadows is careful to insist that neither he nor Trump had anything to do with it. “No one would [focus] on the actions of … those supporters of President Trump who came [to Washington on 6 January] without hate in their hearts or any bad intentions,” writes Meadows. “Instead, they would laser in on the actions of a handful of fanatics across town.”

Whether that “handful of lunatics” represents the 700+ already indicted for their actions on Jan. 6, or whether he means the Willard Hotel hangout where Steve Bannon, Roger Stone, Rudy Giuliani, and John Eastman operated what The Washington Post reported as a “command center” for the insurgency isn’t clear. Because one thing that Meadows definitely is not doing is naming names.

Instead of giving any inside information on the planning or build-up to the assault, Meadows spends much of his time pushing the idea that Trump was “in mourning for the second term he had been unfairly denied.” How far is Meadows willing to go to support this claim? Deep into don’t-believe-your-own-eyes territory. According to Meadows, the speech that Trump gave on Jan. 6, then one in which he demanded that his supporters march on the Capitol and “fight like hell” was actually “more subdued than usual.” 

And when it comes to Trump’s statement that he was going to join them in marching to the Capitol to disrupt the official registering of the electoral vote, Meadows claims his boss was “speaking metaphorically.” This, more than anything else, makes it clear that Meadows doesn’t know what “metaphor” actually means. 

According to Meadows, the mob that attacked the Capitol had “absolutely no urging” from Trump. Anyone still hopeful that he’ll set down to talk to the House Select Committee should expect exactly that sort of statement if he does.

What goes unmentioned in this whole sequence? How about how Meadows sent a letter to Mike Pence “which argued that Pence could declare results in six key states to be under dispute.” 

Also left out is something that happened three days earlier: a meeting in which Meadows sat by as attorney Jeffery Clark pitched Trump on a scheme to fire acting attorney general Jeffery Rosen, replace him with Clark, and then use the DOJ in an attempt to stop tell states to send a do-over slate of Trump delegates.

More of the book will have to come out to know if Meadows gets around to mentioning how he sent letters—in English and in Italian—to the Italian government and the DOJ asking them to investigate a claim that “Leonardo Aerospace, at Pescara facility, using advanced military encryption capabilities, changed the U.S. election result from President Trump to Joe Biden.”

Or how Meadows tried to push the DOJ into investigating a rumor about voting machines in Michigan. 

Or how Meadows sent the DOJ a link to a YouTube video as a reference for Trump’s conspiracy theories about the origins of voting machine vote-fixing in the reign of Hugo Chavez.

Or how the DOJ responded by calling Meadows’ notes “pure insanity.” 

That’s probably not going to come up. Meadows was never someone who did anything that would offend Trump, or took a single step toward correcting Trump’s errors. That was the point of Meadows in the first place.  Trump dumped John Kelly, and then even Mick Mulvaney, because despite being way, way out on the hard right, they were insufficiently rug-like in their ability to lay down and simply let Trump walk on. With Meadows, Trump finally found a chief of staff spineless enough that he didn’t just sit by during Jan. 6, he was on hand for the heart of the planning.

Maybe when Meadows says a “handful of lunatics,” he means in the Oval Office.