Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows had a very bad day on Friday after arguing that the charges against him in Fulton County, Georgia, should be moved. A federal judge rejected Meadows’ bid to move his Georgia criminal case to federal court, making this a bad sign for former President Donald Trump.
The ruling against Meadows has significant implications for the former president and his 18 co-defendants in the Fulton County district attorney’s sprawling racketeering case. Meadows was the first of five defendants who already filed motions to move the case to federal court – and Trump is expected to do so, too.
Meadows unsuccessfully argued that his case, now playing out in Georgia state court, should be moved because the allegations in the indictment were connected to his official duties as White House chief of staff. His lawyers wanted the case in federal court so they could try to get it dismissed altogether, invoking federal immunity extended to certain individuals who are prosecuted or sued for conduct tied to their US government roles.
The judge’s decision could now set the tone for the other defendants also trying to move their cases. It’s an ominous sign for the other defendants who are hoping to invoke the same federal immunity protections.
US District Court Judge Steve Jones wrote in the decision that Meadows had not met even the “‘quite low’ threshold for removal” to federal court because his activities for the Trump campaign were outside the scope of his federal role as White House chief of staff.
“The Court finds that the color of the Office of the White House Chief of Staff did not include working with or working for the Trump campaign, except for simply coordinating the President’s schedule, traveling with the President to his campaign events, and redirecting communications to the campaign,” Jones wrote. “Thus, consistent with his testimony and the federal statutes and regulations, engaging in political activities is exceeds the outer limits of the Office of the White House Chief of Staff.”
I have an idea. We’re nothing here if not helpful. Meadows and Trump can be cellmates. Fun times, eh? I pegged Meadows as one of the first that would flip. What’s up with that? Time is running out.