Meadows says Matt Gaetz should be part of Trump's impeachment defense team

Meadows says Matt Gaetz should be part of Trump's impeachment defense team
© Greg Nash

Rep. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsSunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for week two of impeachment trial Meadows says Trump told him he didn't threaten senators on impeachment vote Impeachment trial to enter new phase with Trump defense MORE (R-N.C.) said Thursday that he believes Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzGaetz in Twitter battle with Florida House Republican Apple under pressure to unlock Pensacola shooter's phones Conservatives slam Warren's call to put transgender women in women's prisons MORE (R-Fla.) should be among the GOP lawmakers given a role on President TrumpDonald John TrumpKaine: Obama called Trump a 'fascist' during 2016 campaign Kaine: GOP senators should 'at least' treat Trump trial with seriousness of traffic court Louise Linton, wife of Mnuchin, deletes Instagram post in support of Greta Thunberg MORE's impeachment defense team.

Meadows, appearing on "War Room: Impeachment," told former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon that it was "imperative" the president's defense team include individuals with an intimate knowledge of the witness testimony and other evidence from the House impeachment process.

"If I had to pick a team, I would say you get in Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanJordan says he thinks trial will be over by next week Cheney's decision not to run for Senate sparks Speaker chatter The Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clash over rules MORE [R-Ohio]. You get in a Matt Gaetz. You put your 'A Team' — a John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffeJordan says he thinks trial will be over by next week The Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clash over rules White House appoints GOP House members to advise Trump's impeachment team MORE [R-Texas]," Meadows said.

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Meadows, who is not seeking reelection, also did not rule out the possibility of playing some role himself in Trump's defense strategy. But he was particularly supportive of Gaetz, a firebrand Republican and Trump defender who produced a number of viral moments in the impeachment proceedings.

"He had one of the greatest performances in the Judiciary, and I say performances because he brought the truth," Meadows said.

"Listen, everybody wants to have their day in the sunshine," Meadows continued. "This is not a time to play politics, this is a time to put your best team on there and I think Matt Gaetz would be one of them."

The House voted last month to impeach Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. No Republicans voted for either article.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiClinton says Zuckerberg has 'authoritarian' views on misinformation Trump defense team signals focus on Schiff Trump legal team offers brisk opening defense of president MORE (D-Calif.) has yet to send the articles over to the Senate amid negotiations over the terms of a Senate trial. Democrats have said they'd like Trump administration officials to testify, but Republicans have indicated they prefer a shorter trial that ends in Trump's acquittal.

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The White House has not made any formal announcements about its legal team for the trial, though White House counsel Pat Cipollone is expected to play a leading role. Trump met last month with Ratcliffe, Jordan and other firebrand lawmakers believed to be under consideration for a part on his defense team.

Gaetz, who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, caused a ruckus in October when he led other Republicans into a closed-door deposition in a secure room at the Capitol to protest a perceived lack of transparency in the impeachment process.

The Florida congressman also received attention for his intense questioning of a Democratic witness on a panel of law professors weighing in on impeachable conduct. He brought up Hunter Biden's substance abuse issues in a later hearing.