WASHINGTON — The Home is anticipated to vote Tuesday on whether or not former White Home chief of workers Mark Meadows ought to be referred to the Justice Division for a criminal contempt charge over his refusal to reply questions concerning the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol.
The committee investigating the pro-Trump riot voted unanimously to advance the measure Monday night time, saying Meadows ought to face a legal cost for defying the panel’s subpoena to testify. The Home Guidelines Committee is scheduled to fulfill Tuesday morning to contemplate the decision, the final step earlier than a ground vote.
Meadows, a former Home member from North Carolina, initially supplied numerous documents to the Jan. 6 committee earlier than he determined in opposition to additional engagement, claiming government privilege.
One of many paperwork the panel had deliberate to ask him about was an e-mail he’s alleged to have despatched Jan. 5 saying Nationwide Guard troops could be available to “defend professional Trump folks” the following day.
“It comes right down to this: Mr. Meadows began by doing the appropriate factor—cooperating. He handed over data that he did not attempt to protect behind some excuse. However in an investigation like ours, that is only a first step,” the committee’s chair, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., mentioned Monday in a press release. “When the data elevate questions—as these most actually do—you must are available in and reply these questions. And when it was time for him to comply with the legislation, are available in, and testify on these questions, he modified his thoughts and advised us to pound sand. He did not even present up.”
Meadows twice refused to attend scheduled depositions. The second was final Wednesday, a day after his ebook recounting his time as President Donald Trump’s chief of workers was launched. In it, he recounts conversations with Trump and downplays the violence, which disrupted the counting of the electoral vote and led to over 700 arrests, because the work of “a handful of fanatics.”
“That he would promote his telling of the details of that day whereas denying a congressional committee the chance to ask him concerning the assault on our Capitol marks an historic and aggressive defiance of Congress,” Thompson wrote in a letter to Meadows’ lawyer.
Meadows’ lawyer, George J. Terwilliger III, despatched a letter Monday asking the committeenot to proceed with the contempt vote, saying it will be “opposite to legislation” as a result of Meadows is making “a good-faith invocation of government privilege and testimonial immunity.”
The letter didn’t deal with why government privilege ought to apply to a former official when the present president shouldn’t be invoking it — a query central to the panel’s authorized struggle over Trump’s records.
In a press release Tuesday, Terwilliger mentioned his consumer has by no means “stopped cooperating” with the committee.
“Moderately, he has maintained constantly that as a former Chief of Employees he can’t be compelled to seem for questioning and that he as a witness shouldn’t be licensed to waive Government Privilege claimed by the previous president. On the identical time, he has absolutely cooperated as to paperwork in his possession that aren’t privileged and has sought varied means to offer different data whereas persevering with to honor the previous president’s privilege claims,” Terwilliger mentioned.
He additionally accused the committee of “duplicity,” noting “it accuses him of contempt citing the very paperwork his cooperation has produced.”
The committee on Monday revealed beforehand undisclosed textual content messages to Meadows across the time of the assault that he is produced to the committee. The texts had been despatched by Fox Information hosts, Donald Trump Jr. and lawmakers whom the committee didn’t identify.
A few of the texts urged Meadows to get the president to name off the rioters on the Capitol, and not less than one from an unnamed lawmaker mentioned, “Pence, as President of the Senate, ought to name out all electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional as no electoral votes in any respect.”
A contempt referral wouldn’t be the primary one stemming from the Jan. 6 investigation.
The Home voted this yr to refer former Trump adviser Steve Bannon to the Justice Division for contempt expenses after he defied the committee’s subpoenas.
The Justice Division acted on the advice, which it does not always do. Bannon has been charged with two counts of contempt and will resist a yr in jail and a $100,000 high quality if he’s convicted. He has pleaded not responsible and is scheduled to face trial in July.
Ken Dilanian contributed.