Where Things Stand: Meadows Shrugged Off Capitol Violence. He Then Asked For A Pardon

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WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 30: White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows listens as President Donald Trump speaks to the press outside the White House on October 30, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Trump will travel to... WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 30: White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows listens as President Donald Trump speaks to the press outside the White House on October 30, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Trump will travel to Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota for the campaign rallies ahead of the presidential election on Tuesday. (Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images) MORE LESS

If you followed any or all of today’s Jan. 6 Committee hearing, you’ll know it was stuffed with some damning revelations about how things went down behind the scenes at the White House and in Trump’s inner circle during the Jan. 6 insurrection and in the days leading up to it.

But some of the most chilling news came in the form of what we learned about then-chief of staff Mark Meadows’ general apathy — toward the news of weapons being carried by Trump supporters outside the rally, toward the violence unfolding as a mob stormed the Capitol, toward Trump’s unwillingness to call off the rioters, toward Trump’s belief that his own vice president might deserve to be attacked by his supporters.

As we noted several times in our live coverage of today’s hearing, Meadows responded to frantic alerts from White House and Secret Service officials about the details of what was unfolding with little more than a large shrug. My colleague Josh Kovensky unpacked it well here:

One way of reading his purported silence is sinister: that of a co-conspirator, someone with full foreknowledge of what was going to come, unsurprised by the day’s momentous events and mildly annoyed at those reacting.

The other way of reading him is perhaps more prosaic: too weak to fight back, intent on ignoring the disaster being perpetrated by his boss.

That’s part of what made the pardon news at the very end of today’s hearings so interesting. But also, perhaps unsurprising.

Committee vice chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) pointedly asked Meadows aide Cassidy Hutchinson (the star witness today who revealed all of these jarring behind-the-scenes details) if her former boss had indicated he was interested in a pardon. Hutchinson confirmed that, yes, it was not just the six members of Congress who communicated with the White House about pardons — there were a few others in the inner circle who thought they might need their asses covered by Trump’s presidential powers when the coup failed, as well.

“Mr. Meadows did seek that pardon, yes ma’am,” Hutchinson confirmed, after revealing that Rudy Giuliani sought one as well. It’s hard to know in a super firm way what exactly everyone close to Trump at the time knew and when they knew it. The pardon requests do signal some awareness about the legality of what the crew was doing.

And news of Meadows’ interest in a pardon nods at Josh Kovensky’s analysis of what Meadows’ shrugs might’ve meant as Trump supporters breached the Capitol, leaving several people dead and many more injured.

The Best Of TPM Today

Here’s what you should read this evening:

Catch up on our live coverage of today’s hearing here: Meadows’ Closest Aide Set To Testify During Surprise Jan. 6 Hearing

Some key takeaways from the Jan. 6 hearing, first from Matt Shuham: The Craziest Moments Of Cassidy Hutchinson’s Account Of Jan. 6

Josh Kovensky: Aides Dissuaded Trump From Making Jan. 6 So Much Worse

Summer Concepcion: Trump’s Tantrums On And Before Jan. 6, According To Ex-Meadows Aide

And some background on Hutchinson: Who Is Cassidy Hutchinson? And Why Is She A Key Witness?

Yesterday’s Most Read Story

McCarthy Urges Voters To Just Ignore Thomas’ Call To Reconsider Other Landmark Cases — Summer Concepcion

What We Are Reading

Thomas and Alito are appropriating racial justice to push a radical agenda — Melissa Murray

Britney Griner reportedly will stand trial starting July 1 in Russia — Cindy Boren and Dave Sheinin

Biden administration announces actions to protect abortion rights — Sandhya Raman

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