On Tuesday, former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows informed the January 6 investigative committee panel that he would no longer cooperate with the Select Committee’s investigation into the incidents that took place on the Capitol Building. Meadows’ attorney sent a letter to the panel, which now is threatening to hold Meadows in contempt.
The panel wants information from Meadows regarding what they believe to be “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.”
Meadows has already provided approximately 6,000 pages of information to the panel. He had also agreed to appear for an interview with the investigative panel. The panel claims that Meadows’ sudden refusal to cooperate is due to the committee’s issuance of subpoenas to a third party communications provider regarding Meadows’ personal phone. Meadows did indicate that he would answer any written questions from the committee.
When Meadows learned that the committee intended to pursue a criminal contempt charge against him, he filed a suit against the committee.
His suit names both members of the panel as well as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
Mr. Meadows’ complaint spoke to the Trump confidante’s efforts to provide the information the panel requested: “for months, Mr. Meadows has consistently sought in good faith to pursue an accommodation with the Select Committee whereby it could obtain relevant, non-privileged information . . . the Select Committee adamantly refused to recognize the immunity of present and former senior White House aides from being compelled to appear (before such a panel for investigation purposes).”
Meadows has provided information to the panel, which they have acknowledged. However, Meadows states that some of the information is protected by Executive Privilege under the Constitution.
Meadows’ suit states that President Biden as well as Pelosi and the Select Committee are working to “waive the former president’s claims of privilege and immunity.” Meadows’ suit claims that the Biden Administration as well as Pelosi and the members of the Select Committee have used the courts as a weapon in this matter. At the end of the complaint, Meadows’ attorney says that the suit is basically an attempt to “turn to the courts to say what the law is.”
On Tuesday, the Select Committee warned Meadows that if he did not appear they would pursue criminal contempt charges. He had already indicated that he would not appear to testify, although he agreed he would provide written answers to any questions the panel might present.
Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) spoke on Meadows’ refusal to appear. Thompson stated that Meadows had informed the Committee that he would no longer cooperate with the investigation; Thompson did not mention that Meadows had offered to respond to written questions. Thompson also pointed to an upcoming book that Meadows is promoting; he stated that Meadows is sharing a good bit of “privileged” information in the book. Thompson inferred that Meadows is sharing information in the newly released book, but refuses to do the same with the Jan. 6 committee.
Thompson and Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney both say that they have many questions for Meadows regarding information that he turned over to the Select Committee “with no claim of privilege.” Both Chaney and Thompson have mentioned they are looking to discuss communications via Meadows’ personal phone.
The day prior to the announcement of Meadows’ lawsuit, former Donald Trump confidante Roger Stone announced that he would invoke his Fifth Amendment rights and did not plan to appear before the Select Committee regarding the events of January 6, 2021. Reuters reported earlier this year that the FBI found through their investigations of the riots that there was only “scant evidence” of any organized plan to overthrow the Legislative branch of the government.
Reuters reported that ninety to ninety-five percent of those participating in the riots were a “one-off case.” This information came from a former senior law enforcement official with the Bureau. The officer also related that the riots “(were) no grand scheme with Roger Stone and Alex Jones . . . to storm the Capitol and take hostages.”