Court Battles

Jan. 6 committee moving forward with contempt charges against Meadows

The House committee investigating the events around the Jan. 6 riot told an attorney for Mark Meadows that it was moving forward with contempt charges against the former Trump chief of staff due to his not appearing before a second scheduled deposition on Wednesday.

In a letter addressed to Meadows’ attorney George Terwilliger III, Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) noted that Meadows had previously snubbed scheduled depositions with the panel once before. 

“The Select Committee is 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,” Thompson wrote.

The Mississippi Democrat’s letter came a day after Meadows indicated he would refuse to sit for Wednesday’s deposition, a reversal from the panel’s announcement last week that Meadows would “soon appear for an initial deposition.” That led to the panel threatening Meadows with a contempt charge later on Tuesday.

Meadows, who was former President Trump’s chief of staff during the day of the riot, is accusing the select committee of abusing its powers and undermining the executive privilege authority invoked by Trump and several members of his inner circle, a claim first reported by CNN.

Thompson acknowledged that while some documents had been provided by Meadows to the Jan. 6 committee for their investigation, the House chairman said that other documents had been withheld “based on claims of executive, attorney-client, and other privilege.”

Thompson indicated that over 1,000 text messages were also withheld based on similar claims.

“Indeed, the Select Committee has tried repeatedly to identify with specificity the areas of inquiry that Mr. Meadows believes are protected by a claim of executive privilege, but neither you nor Mr. Meadows has meaningfully provided that information,” Thompson wrote to Meadows’ attorney.

“There is no legitimate legal basis for Mr. Meadows to refuse to cooperate with the Select Committee and answer questions about the documents he produced, the personal devices and accounts he used, the events he wrote about in his newly released book, and, among other things, his other public statements,” Thompson wrote.

Thompson and committee Vice Chair Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said in a joint statement Tuesday that they would advance contempt charges if Meadows failed to appear before them during a Wednesday deposition. 

If the select committee were to vote to recommend Meadows for criminal contempt, the resolution would then head to the House floor for a vote of the full chamber.

The House has already voted this year to hold another Trump confidant in contempt. Stephen Bannon, a former senior strategist, had also defied a subpoena from the Jan. 6 select committee, citing executive privilege. He is scheduled to head to trial in July.

The Hill has reached out to Terwilliger III for comment.

Tags Bennie Thompson Bennie Thompson Donald Trump jan. 6 riot Liz Cheney Mark Meadows Mark Meadows

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