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Select Committee on Jan. 6 Threatens Meadows With Contempt

December 7, 2021 by Dan McCue
Select Committee on Jan. 6 Threatens Meadows With Contempt
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speaks with reporters outside the White House, Oct. 26, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

WASHINGTON — The Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol says it will launch criminal charges on former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows if he refuses to cooperate with the probe.

Meadows, who has been an on-again, off-again witness for the committee for weeks, is scheduled to testify before the panel behind closed doors on Wednesday.

But this morning, an attorney for Meadows said his client will not cooperate with the House committee, citing a breakdown in negotiations over the scope of questioning.

Attorney George Terwilliger said in a letter delivered to the panel Tuesday that a deposition would be “untenable” because the Jan. 6 panel “has no intention of respecting boundaries” concerning questions that former President Donald Trump has claimed are off-limits because of executive privilege. 

Terwilliger also said that he learned over the weekend that the committee had issued a subpoena to a third-party communications provider that he said would include “intensely personal” information.

On Tuesday afternoon, the committee Chair Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Vice Chair Liz Cheney issued a statement in which they noted Meadows is refusing to testify “despite his apparent willingness to provide details about the facts and circumstances surrounding the January 6th attack, including conversations with President Trump, in the book he is now promoting and selling.”

“Even as we litigate privilege issues, the Select Committee has numerous questions for Mr. Meadows about records he has turned over to the Committee with no claim of privilege, which include real-time communications with many individuals as the events of January 6th unfolded,” Thompson and Cheney continued. “We also need to hear from him about voluminous official records stored in his personal phone and email accounts, which were required to be turned over to the National Archives in accordance with the Presidential Records Act.

“Tomorrow’s deposition, which was scheduled at Mr. Meadows’ request, will go forward as planned. If indeed Mr. Meadows refuses to appear, the Select Committee will be left with no choice but to advance contempt proceedings and recommend that the body in which Mr. Meadows once served refer him for criminal prosecution,” the committee leaders said.

Terwilliger said in a statement last week that he was continuing to work with the committee and its staff on a potential accommodation that would not require Meadows to waive the executive privileges claimed by Trump or “forfeit the long-standing position that senior White House aides cannot be compelled to testify” before Congress.

“We appreciate the Select Committee’s openness to receiving voluntary responses on non-privileged topics,” he said.

Dan can be reached at dan@thewellnews.com and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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