House Committee Seeks Contempt Citation Against Former Trump Advisor Meadows
WASHINGTON – A House committee plans to vote as soon as Monday to recommend that former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows be charged with contempt of Congress for failing to cooperate in its investigation of the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.
The committee explained why it is recommending the contempt citation – which could include jail for Meadows – in a resolution it released Sunday.
The 51-page resolution says that despite the select committee’s repeated requests for documents and testimony from Meadows, he ignored them.
“Mr. Meadows’s failure to appear for deposition testimony in the face of this clear advisement and warning by the chairman, and after being given a second chance to cooperate with the select committee, constitutes a willful failure to comply with the subpoena,” the resolution of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol says.
Meadows’ most recent act of defiance was last Wednesday, when he failed to show up for a scheduled deposition, according to the committee.
Meadows explained his lack of cooperation by saying the committee is abusing its authority. His actions related to the Jan. 6 attack were not subject to congressional review because they fell under the executive privilege of the president and his staff, Meadows says.
The committee addressed Meadows’ statements in its resolution where stating, “Even if privileges were applicable to some aspects of Mr. Meadows’ testimony, he was required to appear before the select committee for his deposition, answer any questions concerning non-privileged information, and assert any such privilege on a question-by-question basis.”
Evidence mentioned in the resolution raises troubling questions about Meadows’ involvement with the Jan. 6 insurrection and efforts by former President Donald Trump to overturn the election.
It says Meadows sent text messages offering to help an organizer of the Jan. 6 rally for Trump on the White House Ellipse. Afterward, the rally became a march to the Capitol and a violent incursion.
Meadows also sent an email to an unidentified person saying the National Guard would be present during the rally to ‘‘protect pro Trump people.”
In truth, there were no National Guardsmen present at the rally. They showed up hours later to expel rioters from the Capitol.
The select committee wants to know the degree of involvement between the Trump administration and the National Guard, as well as why there was a delay in deploying them.
Meadows made several communications implying he sought to elicit support from state lawmakers to overturn their elections that were won by Joe Biden, according to the resolution.
Much of the evidence the committee seeks comes from a book Meadows authored entitled “The Chief’s Chief.” It includes sections on the 2020 election and Meadows’ moments with Trump as the insurrectionists broke into the Capitol.
The resolution quoted passages in the book that imply Trump was unwilling to accept his defeat even in the last hours of his presidency.
One of them says, ‘‘On January 20th, with less than five hours left in his historic presidency, at a time when most outgoing presidents would be quietly making notes for their memoirs and taking stock of their time in the White House, President Trump was being forced to defend his legacy yet again. ‘How do we look in Congress?’ President Trump asked. ‘I’ve heard that there are some Republicans who might be turning against us. That would be a very unwise thing for them to do.’’’
Another passage in the book quotes Trump saying to Meadows, “Look, if I lost, I’d have no problem admitting it. I would sit back and retire and probably have a much easier life, but I didn’t lose. People need me to get back to work. We’re not done yet.’’
The select committee is trying to develop a detailed account of the insurrection as groundwork for proposals to prevent future attacks. They describe Meadows’ testimony as potentially key evidence.
Meadows, a former Republican congressman from North Carolina, has sued the select committee, asking a court to block the subpoenas that he says are “overly broad and unduly burdensome.”
The select committee’s recommendation for a contempt citation means the full House would then vote on it. Afterward, it would be referred to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution.
Tom can be reached at email@example.com.