A CNN profile on what happened to former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows after he left the Trump White House is painting him as both a Republican God-send and just another grifter.
Meadows has spent the past few years working for a far-right think tank, the Conservative Partnership Institute. Thus far, the only press around the group has come from a Washington Post piece that revealed confusion over the organization's buying up real estate all over Capitol Hill. The group also hosts a kind of social club for Republican lawmakers, Raw Story was told.
CNN reported some new lawmakers were "so taken by Meadows, at one point they considered nominating him for Speaker. Meadows ultimately rejected the suggestion, telling lawmakers he preferred to operate behind the scenes."
Sources have told CNN that, despite not becoming the Speaker, he has been working with many of the right of the Republican party in an effort to pull the strings on the debt ceiling strategy. Democratic strategist Chai Komanduri said Donald Trump is doing the same, thinking if he can sink the economy, he has a better shot of winning in 2024.
The "right flank may try to stand in the way of any concessions made in a compromise with President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats," the CNN report cautioned.
The concern among analysts is that Speaker Kevin Carthy's so-called "right flank" could unseat him if they don't like the deal that he makes with the White House. It incentivizes them instead of a more moderate, bipartisan approach.
Meadows has faded from the public spotlight so much that not even Donald Trump's people have a handle on him – despite him possibly being a central player in the special counsel investigation into Trump's involvement in the effort to overturn the 2020 election results.
"A source close to Trump’s legal team said Trump’s lawyers have had no contact with Meadows and his team and are in the dark on what Meadows is doing in the investigation, fueling speculation about whether Meadows is cooperating with the special counsel’s probe – or if Meadows himself is a target of the investigation," said CNN.
“We’ve all heard the same rumors,” a Trump adviser said. “No one really knows what he’s doing, though.”
Even Meadows' allies say he wants to "help steer the direction of the country," with others saying he's "driven by a desire for power"
“He is all about getting information so he can be seen as important to donors, other members, the media,” a senior GOP source who once worked for a Freedom Caucus member told CNN. “People don’t trust him.”
Another source suggested Meadows might want to work in the White House again, which a source close to Trump "scoffed at."
Back home, the once-beloved Congressman has become something different.
“I used to joke it was Jesus and then Mark Meadows in the 11th. He was just a couple rungs below Jesus in western North Carolina. He would arrive and it was like Elvis,” said a GOP activist. “Now I think he’s just kind of a non-factor if you were to talk to anyone in western North Carolina.”
Meadows was even accused of voter fraud after it was found he was registered to vote in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia (where he lives).
"Public records showed Meadows, a Republican, listed a mobile home in Scaly Mountain, North Carolina, that he did not own as his physical address when he registered to vote on Sept. 19, 2020, while he was still serving as chief of staff," the Associated Press explained.
Trump won the state by just over 1 percent in 2020, and Meadows cast an absentee ballot from there and Attorney General Josh Stein refused to prosecute. Meadows appears to be exclusively living and voting in Virginia now.