The House of Representatives plans to vote on Tuesday on a measure to keep President Donald Trump’s former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in congressional criminal contempt for defying a subpoena issued by the selection committee. Investigation of the riots in the Capitol on January 6 issued.
The measure, if passed, would refer Meadows to the Department of Justice for possible criminal prosecution.
The contempt proceedings took place in the House of Representatives days after the committee said Meadows refused to sit down to answer questions about Trump’s actions on January 6, when hundreds of his supporters attacked. violently into the Capitol. The rioters, many of whom were fueled by Trump’s false claims of a “rigged” election in 2020, forced lawmakers to flee their chambers and temporarily stalled confirmation of President Joe Biden’s victory in the Electoral College.
“I have no great desire here to seek consideration for this contempt referral,” Selection Committee Chair Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said during the Rules Committee hearing on Tuesday morning. Thompson noted that Meadows served as a member of Congress for seven years before becoming Trump’s chief of staff.
“But that doesn’t excuse his behavior,” Thompson added. “We were fairer than most. He took the situation on his own.”
Instead of fully cooperating with the investigation on January 6, Meadows last week filed a lawsuit to invalidate two of the subpoenas by the select committee, citing Trump’s assertion that Meadows’ testimony is protected by executive privilege. The committee denied that claim, and Biden denied a request for privileges over documents sought by investigators.
But before stepping back from impeachment, Meadows handed over thousands of files that were not under executive privilege, the committee said. Lawmakers said Meadows had no basis to refuse subpoenas to answer questions about those records.
These include texts Meadows received from Donald Trump Jr., the Fox News host, and Republican lawmakers who were panicking about the Capitol riots as it unfolded.
“We need an Oval Office address. He has to take the lead now. It’s gone too far and out of reach,” Trump Jr texted Meadows in a message revealed Monday night by Deputy Select Committee Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo.
“He must condemn this — ASAP. The Capitol Police tweet is not enough,” Trump Jr. wrote in another message, according to Cheney.
“I’m pushing it a lot. I agree,” Meadows replied in a message shared by Cheney.
“Mark, the president needs to tell everyone on Capitol Hill to go home. This is hurting us all. He’s destroying his legacy,” Fox host Laura Ingraham texted Meadows. , according to Cheney.
“Please put him on TV. Destroy everything you’ve accomplished,” Brian Kilmeade of “Fox & Friends” said in another message revealed by Cheney.
“Can he make a statement? Ask everyone to leave the Capitol,” Sean Hannity urged, according to Cheney..
Cheney, who spoke before the nine-member committee voted unanimously for a report recommended contempt charges against Meadows, said the texts show Trump’s “ultimate derelict of duty” in taking no action for 187 minutes after the attack began.
The documents themselves show “without a doubt” that the White House was aware of the violent riots that were taking place on the Capitol when the chaos unfolded, Cheney said.
During the Rules Committee hearing on Tuesday morning, Cheney further shared the text message Republican lawmakers sent Meadows on Jan.
“It’s really bad up here in the hills,” one text said. “The President needs to stop this ASAP,” read another.
“Please fix this now,” an additional text said.
Meadows’ legal complaint says that Trump’s directive about Trump’s failure to comply with the subpoena placed the former chief of staff in an “unacceptable position in choosing between conflicting privilege claims.” offered by Trump and Biden.
Trump sued to block the National Archives from sending a series of White House records to the committee on January 6. He argued that the records were protected by executive privilege. Biden, however, waives privileges to those materials.
One federal district court judge and a panel of three federal appellate court judges denied Trump’s privileged claims.
In a statement to NBC News on Tuesday morning, an attorney for Meadows countered that the former chief of staff had stopped cooperating with the Jan. 6 investigation.
“Instead, he has always maintained that as a former Chief of Staff, he cannot be compelled to appear for questioning and that he as a witness cannot waive Privilege. Executives requested by the former president,” said a statement from attorney George Terwilliger.
But Meadows’ own lawsuit notes that he decided to “withdraw his offer to voluntarily appear for removal.”
The lawsuit says that Meadows made that decision after being “blinded” on December 4 by the discovery that the commission had issued “too broad” subpoenas to the private cell phone provider. his former employer, Verizon.
The House of Representatives voted to hold former White House senior adviser Steve Bannon to contempt for his own non-compliance with a subpoena issued by the panel on Jan. 6. A federal grand jury indicted Bannon with two counts of contempt of Congress.
Bannon has pleaded not guilty. If found guilty, he faces a maximum sentence one year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000 for each count. A federal judge has set a tentative start date of July 18 for Bannon’s trial.
Last week, the selection committee voted conduct contempt proceedings against former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark. Investigators also gave him an extension of time to comply with the investigation.
Thompson said Tuesday that of about 300 witnesses contacted by the committee, Meadows, Bannon and Clark were the only three who did not cooperate.
This is developing news. Please check back for updates.
https://www.cnbc.com/2021/12/14/jan-6-capitol-riot-probe-house-votes-on-mark-meadows-criminal-contempt.html Mark Meadows’s Contempt of Crime Voter