The report issued about former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows last week by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol reads like a “blueprint for a coup,” wrote Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent.
And it’s not just for the attempt earlier this year but “also for a future one,” he wrote Monday.
Backed up by the 51-page report, the House select committee voted Monday in favor of a resolution recommending that criminal charges be filed against Meadows for failing to comply with a congressional subpoena to appear before the panel to answer questions about the Capitol riot.
The report provides a chilling look at a plot to “thwart a legitimately elected government from taking power,” initially through “corrupt pressure” on government actors and “then through mob violence,” Sargent said.
That’s when then-President Donald Trump watched the violence unfold on live TV in the White House and yet reportedly ignored “frantic pleas that he step in” to stop it, Sargent said. Trump even seemed to be “enjoying” the violence, one presidential adviser told the Post.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said he begged Trump on the phone that day to intercede to stop the violence at the Capitol but that Trump scolded him: “Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.”
Details in documents turned over to the committee by Meadows before he decided to stop cooperating have unearthed a plot to overthrow election results, including a galvanizing “PowerPoint coup” scheme cooked up by a group of Trump allies in a “war room” at a downtown Washington hotel and presented to lawmakers.
The PowerPoint plan involved then-President Trump declaring a national security emergency to delay the certification of the 2020 Electoral College vote count, then manhandling the votes to keep him in the White House.
Though Meadows’ attorney has said he did nothing about the PowerPoint plan, one contributor to the scheme, retired Army Col. Phil Waldron, told the Post that he talked with Meadows about it up to 10 times and that Meadows appeared eager to be helpful. (Waldron also said he was part of a team that briefed several lawmakers about the plot the night before Jan. 6.)
Meadows was also on text and email chains addressing efforts to get GOP legislators to send alternate electors to Congress in an apparent bid to undermine Joe Biden’s Electoral College vote, Sargent noted. He also sent emails urging the Justice Department to investigate unsupported claims of voter fraud, according to the House committee report.
In addition, he referred in an email to having the National Guard available to “protect pro-Trump people” at a “Stop the Steal” rally on Jan. 6.
“The whole coup blueprint is right there in black and white,” Sargent warned. “So is the scope and reach of what Meadows and others stonewalling the Jan. 6 committee are so eager to cover up. But we’ve now learned the committee has extensive receipts, and soon enough, we’ll see all of them.”
Read the entire column here.