Details emerge on Meadows’ alleged use of a White House fireplace


Among the notable revelations related to the Jan. 6 investigation this week was an unexpected tidbit about Mark Meadows. The New York Times reported that the Republican, who served as Donald Trump’s White House chief of staff, used his office fireplace “to burn documents.”

The reporting hasn’t been independently verified by MSNBC or NBC News, though The Washington Post also reported that some of the witnesses who’ve spoken to the bipartisan select panel “said Meadows used his fireplace to burn documents.”

This raised all kinds of questions, including lines of inquiry about when, exactly, the then-White House chief of staff might’ve literally set fire to materials. It was against this backdrop that Politico reported:

Then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows burned papers in his office after meeting with a House Republican who was working to challenge the 2020 election, according to testimony the Jan. 6 select committee has heard from one of his former aides.

According to the reporting, Cassidy Hutchinson — a former Meadows aide whose name keeps coming up — told congressional investigators “that she saw Meadows incinerate documents after a meeting in his office with Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.).” Politico’s report, which also hasn’t been independently verified by MSNBC or NBC News, added:

It’s unclear whether Hutchinson told the committee which specific papers were burnt, and if federal records laws required the materials’ preservation. Meadows’ destruction of papers is a key focus for the select committee, and the person familiar with the testimony said investigators pressed Hutchinson for details about the issue for more than 90 minutes during a recent deposition.

Perry, who currently chairs the far-right House Freedom Caucus, has long been a key figure in the Jan. 6 committee’s investigation. In fact, when the panel started requesting information late last year from sitting members of Congress, the first person the committee contacted was the Pennsylvania Republican. (Perry announced soon after that he would refuse to assist in the investigation.)

In the months that followed, the GOP congressman’s name has come to the fore quite a bit. In a court filing last month, for example, the Jan. 6 committee alleged that Perry was directly involved with White House talks as Donald Trump and his team explored how to claim power they hadn’t earned.

As regular readers may recall, according to evidence obtained by congressional investigators, Perry endorsed a plan “to direct thousands of angry marchers” to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

When CNN obtained thousands of text messages Meadows received from Republican allies in the runup to Jan. 6, many showed missives from Perry about efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.

And it now appears that the then-White House chief of staff, after meeting with Perry, decided to set documents on fire.

To briefly reiterate a point from yesterday, the documents we’ve already seen from the Trump White House are some of the most damning in American history. It’s hard not to wonder what might have been in the materials Meadows thought to throw in a White House fireplace.

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