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Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows cooperating with special counsel's Trump investigation

Meadows cooperating with special counsel
Meadows cooperating with special counsel's Trump-election interference case 05:33

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows is extensively cooperating with special counsel Jack Smith's election interference investigation of former President Donald Trump, CBS News has learned.

Meadows has provided lengthy and in-depth testimony several times in the past year before the grand jury, as well as providing prosecutors with reams of documents, including text messages, that have provided them with a roadmap of Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election, according to sources familiar with the former Trump chief of staff's testimony.

On Tuesday, ABC News reported that Smith granted Meadows immunity to testify under oath, but Meadows's lawyer, George Terwilliger, told CBS News, "I told ABC that their story was largely inaccurate. People will have to judge for themselves the decision to run it anyway." He declined to discuss the investigation with CBS News. 

CBS News has so far not confirmed that Meadows has received immunity in exchange for his testimony, but Trump allies and sources close to several witnesses are growing increasingly alarmed that Meadows is testifying in detail and without reservation because he might be seeking an immunity deal or may already have an understanding with prosecutors. These sources expect Meadows' testimony and his text messages to be pillars of the upcoming federal trial of the former president, with Meadows as a key witness.

Text messages and emails Meadows provided to the House select committee investigating the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021, include messages from lawmakers, conservative TV hosts, Trump family members and exchanges with Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas about efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Thomas advised Meadows in one text that lawyer Sidney Powell, who promoted incendiary and unsupported claims about the election, should become "the lead and the face" of Trump's legal team. Powell pleaded guilty in the Georgia election interference case last week.

Trump, on Truth Social, contemplated the possibility of a Meadows immunity arrangement. 

"I don't think Mark Meadows would lie about the Rigged and Stollen 2020 Presidential Election merely for getting IMMUNITY against Prosecution (PERSECUTION!) by Deranged Prosecutor, Jack Smith...," he wrote. "BUT, when you really think about it, after being hounded like a dog for three years, told you'll be going to jail for the rest of your life, your money and your family will be forever gone, and we're not at all interested in exposing those that did the RIGGING…Some people would make that deal, but they are weaklings and cowards, and so bad for the future our Failing Nation... I don't think that Mark Meadows is one of them, but who really knows?"

Robert Costa contributed to this report.

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