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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 MeadowsThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump holds his last turkey pardon ceremony Overnight Defense: Pentagon set for tighter virus restrictions as top officials tests positive | Military sees 11th COVID-19 death | House Democrats back Senate language on Confederate base names Trump administration revives talk of action on birthright citizenship MORE (R-N.C.) said Thursday that he believes Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzGaetz: Trump 'should pardon everyone' including himself to quash liberal 'bloodlust' Florida passes 850k coronavirus cases Florida GOP Rep. Mike Waltz tests positive for COVID-19 MORE (R-Fla.) should be among the GOP lawmakers given a role on President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSAID administrator tests positive for COVID-19 Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year DOJ appeals ruling preventing it from replacing Trump in E. Jean Carroll defamation lawsuit 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 JordanCheney, top GOP lawmakers ask Trump campaign for proof of election fraud New RSC chairman sees 'Trumpism' as future Sunday shows preview: Biden team gears up for transition, Trump legal battles continue and pandemic rages on MORE [R-Ohio]. You get in a Matt Gaetz. You put your 'A Team' — a John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffeProfiles in cowardice: Trump's Senate enablers Biden considering King for director of national intelligence: report Haspel not in attendance at latest Trump intelligence briefing: reports 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 PelosiGovernors take heat for violating their own coronavirus restrictions Spending deal clears obstacle in shutdown fight Ocasio-Cortez, Cruz trade jabs over COVID-19 relief: People 'going hungry as you tweet from' vacation 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.