Former White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham says former President Donald Trump held secret meetings in the White House residence in the days before the Capitol riot – and that former first lady Melania Trump would join them.
Grisham, who served as Melania’s chief of staff before quitting her job on Jan. 6th, 2020, revealed that the former first lady was known for ‘popping in’ to meetings – in a comment that suggests she might have information about who her husband was meeting with amid his election overturn effort. The House committee investigating January 6 on Thursday reached out to Ivanka Trump seeking an interview.
‘She may or may not have been sitting in on – she knew she was known for popping into meetings. So she probably knew what was going on as well,’ Grisham told CNN Friday.
Grisham said Trump held the meetings amid ‘paranoia’ about leaks from his own White House staff in the final days of his administration.
Former first lady Melania Trump was known for ‘popping in’ to meetings the president held in the East Wing, her former chief of staff Stephanie Grisham said. She confirmed a report of secret meetings before Jan. 6th. ‘So she probably knew what was going on as well,’ she said
She described the secret meetings after testifying earlier this month before the House January 6 committee. She did not say what she told the panel during her interview. But she said a report about the meetings in the Guardian – which she said she did not participate in – was accurate.
‘There were meetings taking place up there,’ she said.
Among those coming to the meetings – where White House staffers might be frozen out from knowing who the president was talking to in the part of the White House where the first family lived – where the architects of Trump’s election overturn effort, which Grisham termed ‘bonkers little plans.’
‘Well, that was the beauty of having meetings in the residence like that. And the president, the former president, did that often. He did that quite a bit because there was a lot of paranoia about leaks in the White House and so he’d just have people up to the residence,’ Grisham told the network.
Grisham also described how she would obtain the information.
She says at first she was informed as to participants in East Wing meetings when she served as Melania Trump’s chief of staff. But she said she would later be frozen out by White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.
Sometimes, a White House usher – a former Trump Organization employee – would tip her off about who was coming into the East Wing.
She told the network Friday that even when she didn’t learn through the typical channels, ‘Mrs. Trump would let me know, because maybe she wasn’t happy that people were in her home without her knowledge.’
The House panel has revealed an increasing interest in Trump’s ‘state of mind’ on and leading up to Jan. 6th as it seeks to reconstruct the events around the Capitol riot.
Grisham, a longtime Trump aide who was part of his 2016 presidential campaign, served as White House press secretary and later transitioned to become chief of staff to First Lady Melania Trump.
The panel’s interview with Grisham was more productive than expected, sources told the Guardian, which reported Grisham said Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows scheduled the meetings, and former chief usher Timothy Harleth would waive guests into the meetings.
Former White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham spoke to the House Jan. 6th committee. She told the panel Trump held secret meetings leading up to Jan. 6th
She told the panel about meetings Trump held in the White House residence, located in the East Wing.
She also told the panel that Secret Service documents contained information about whether Trump ever intended to march to the Capitol following a rally near the White House, according to the report.
Grisham met with the panel Jan. 5th, telling reporters she ‘cooperated fully’ with the select committee.
Grisham quit her post on Jan. 6th, 2020, then wrote a tell-all book about her time with Trump.
The White House never released visitor logs for meetings that Trump or other officials held at the White House, making all meetings outside of those publicly announced – or foiled by spotters or leakers, in effect secret.
Investigators have long been interested in who Trump met with during that time. The panel last year asked the National Archives to hand over visitors’ logs. The Archives for the first time started handing over information Wednesday night, following a Supreme Court ruling yesterday.
Reporters sometimes had to rely on lucky or chance sightings to find out what Trump was up to in the days after the election. Members of the media spotted ‘Kraken’ lawyer Sidney Powell, who promoted Trump’s election overturn effort in the courts, was spotted at the White House in December 2020.
Grisham quit her post on Jan. 6th, 2020, the day Trump addressed a crowd at the White House before the riot, then wrote a tell-all book about her time with Trump
FILE – Sidney Powell, right, speaks next to former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani, as members of President Donald Trump’s legal team, during a news conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters on Nov. 19, 2020, in Washington. Powell was spotted at the White House after the election, as she pushed ‘Kraken’ lawsuits in court
The panel is probing Trump’s state of mind on Jan. 6th, the day of the Capitol riot
My Pillow CEO Michael Lindell is seen outside the door of the West Wing at the White House on Friday, Jan 15, 2021 in Washington, DC
‘My Pillow’ CEO Mike Lindell was spotted at the White House Jan. 15th, after Grisham had left.
Trump was surrounding himself with ultra-loyalists in the days after the networks called the election for Biden, as a series of courts ruled against his allies’ claims of fraud.
Attorney General Bill Barr resigned before Christmas, and Trump maneuvered new officials into key agencies in the final weeks of his administration.
On Thursday, the Jan. 6th Committee requested information from former first daughter Ivanka Trump. The panel quotes Fox News host Sean Hannity in a text exchange with former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany beginning Jan. 7th, 2020.
He recommended the White House keep Trump away from ‘certain people.’
‘Key now. No more crazy people,’ he wrote. McEnany responded: ‘Yes 100%,’ he said.