Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows allegedly burned documents in his fireplace in the final weeks of the Donald Trump administration, according to his former aide Cassidy Hutchinson.
Hutchinson testified on May 17 to the January 6 committee; the fiery revelation was found in the House panel’s newly released transcripts of the former aide’s deposition.
When Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) asked if Hutchinson saw Meadows use the fireplace to burn records, she replied:
“The Presidential Records Act only asks that you keep the original copy of a document. So, yes. However, I don’t know if they were the first or original copies of anything. It’s entirely possible that he had put things in his fireplace that he also would have put into a burn bag that there were duplicates of or that there was an electronic copy of.”
Hutchinson added that she estimated watching Meadows burn documents “roughly a dozen times.”
Although the New York Times and Politico had previously reported the accusation, the transcripts were just released publicly, adding fuel to the fire, so to speak.
The former aide also insinuated that Meadows tried to keep meetings off official records. Hutchinson testified that she remembered Meadows telling Oval Office staffers in either the end of November or early December 2020: “Let’s keep some meetings close hold. We will talk about what that means, but for now we will keep things real tight and private so things don’t start to leak out.” She said there “were certain things that had potentially been left off” the Oval Office diary, although she said she didn’t know the specific documents.
She did, however, remember one specific name: Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.). She said that she recalled at least two burnings following Meadows’ meetings with Perry.
The House panel in May said the Pennsylvania congressman was “directly involved” with efforts to instate Jeffrey Clark as acting Attorney General, as Clark had indicated that he would support the plan to encourage states to appoint Trump-supporting electors.
Hutchinson said Meadows and Perry discussed “election issues.” during their meeting. More specifically, Hutchinson said, “The Vice President’s role on January 6th….Mr. Perry started coming to meet with Mr. Meadows about what he believed could happen on January 6th, and they were preparing various PowerPoints and he would bring physical material.”
The release of this transcript comes in the wake of bombshell news from last week: claims that Trump’s former ethics attorney, Stefan Passantino, advised Hutchinson to give misleading testimony to the January 6 committee.
Passantino is taking a leave of absence from his firm following the revelation; his name was also removed from Michael Best & Friedrich’s firm website.