The prime committee investigating the Capitol riot said it would hole a transgression contempt of Congress referral against Mark Meadows, who was President Donald J. Trump’s main of unit connected Jan. 6.
Dec. 8, 2021, 3:15 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON — The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 onslaught connected the Capitol said connected Wednesday it would determination guardant with a transgression contempt of Congress referral against Mark Meadows, the erstwhile main of unit for President Donald J. Trump, aft helium refused to look for a scheduled deposition.
“The prime committee is near with nary prime but to beforehand contempt proceedings and urge that the assemblage successful which Mr. Meadows erstwhile served notation him for transgression prosecution,” Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the president of the committee, wrote to Mr. Meadows’s lawyer, George J. Terwilliger III.
The sheet did not instantly denote a day to ballot connected a contempt referral, which is each but definite to beryllium approved and sent to the afloat House, wherever lawmakers are apt to walk it, formally recommending that the Justice Department prosecute Mr. Meadows. It would beryllium the 3rd clip the committee has moved to clasp a recalcitrant witnesser successful transgression contempt.
The committee has present interviewed much than 275 witnesses. Those cooperating see immoderate members of erstwhile Vice President Mike Pence’s interior circle, including Marc Short, his erstwhile main of staff. But respective high-profile witnesses are stonewalling the panel, successful enactment with a directive from Mr. Trump.
The erstwhile president is battling successful tribunal to artifact the merchandise of documents requested by the committee that helium says are taxable to enforcement privilege, though the Biden medication has refused to asseverate that claim.
Mr. Meadows, who has turned implicit thousands of pages of documents to the committee, informed the sheet connected Tuesday that helium was nary longer consenting to beryllium for a deposition that had been scheduled for Wednesday, reversing a deal helium had reached with the sheet conscionable past week to beryllium interviewed by its investigators. The leaders of the committee instantly threatened to complaint Mr. Meadows, a erstwhile congressman from North Carolina, with contempt of Congress if helium did not appear.
Mr. Thompson said Mr. Meadows had provided immoderate utile accusation to the committee, including a November email that discussed appointing an alternate slate of electors to support Mr. Trump successful powerfulness and a Jan. 5 connection astir putting the National Guard connected standby.
Mr. Meadows besides turned implicit to the committee his substance messages with a subordinate of Congress successful which the lawmaker acknowledged that a program to entity to Mr. Biden’s triumph would beryllium “highly controversial,” to which Mr. Meadows responded, “I emotion it.” And helium furnished substance exchanges astir the request for Mr. Trump to contented a nationalist connection connected Jan. 6 aimed astatine persuading the mob marauding done the Capitol successful his sanction to basal down.
But Mr. Meadows besides informed the committee helium had turned successful the cellphone helium utilized connected Jan. 6 to his work provider, and helium was withholding immoderate 1,000 substance messages connected with the device, Mr. Thompson said, prompting further questions and the request for much practice and a deposition.
“There is nary morganatic ineligible ground for Mr. Meadows to garbage to cooperate with the prime committee and reply questions astir the documents helium produced, the idiosyncratic devices and accounts helium used, the events helium wrote astir successful his recently released publication and, among different things, his different nationalist statements,” Mr. Thompson wrote.
The committee precocious sent a flurry of subpoenas to telecommunications companies seeking the information of dozens of individuals, including Mr. Meadows, prompting his lawyer to entity to a petition helium said sought “intensely idiosyncratic communications” with nary relevance to immoderate morganatic investigation.
The subpoenas, which travel records preservation demands sent to 35 exertion and societal media companies successful August, bash not question the contented of immoderate communications but simply the dates and times of erstwhile the calls and messages took place, according to a committee aide.
Understand the Claim of Executive Privilege successful the Jan. 6. Inquiry
Card 1 of 8
A cardinal contented yet untested. Donald Trump’s powerfulness arsenic erstwhile president to support accusation from his White House concealed has go a cardinal contented successful the House’s probe of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Amid an effort by Mr. Trump to support idiosyncratic records concealed and the indictment of Stephen K. Bannon for contempt of Congress, here’s a breakdown of enforcement privilege:
The House voted successful October to urge that different of Mr. Trump’s associates, Stephen K. Bannon, be charged with transgression contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate with the investigation. A national expansive assemblage subsequently indicted him connected 2 counts that could transportation a full of up to 2 years down bars. A justice connected Tuesday acceptable a July 18 proceedings day for Mr. Bannon, meaning that the prime committee volition astir apt person to hold the amended portion of a year, if not longer, for a solution of his lawsuit and immoderate imaginable practice from him.
The committee has besides recommended a contempt complaint against Jeffrey Clark, a erstwhile Justice Department lawyer who participated successful Mr. Trump’s efforts to invalidate the 2020 predetermination results, for refusing to cooperate with its inquiry. The sheet is waiting to implicit that referral until it tin find however overmuch accusation Mr. Clark is consenting to supply during a deposition scheduled for Dec. 16. Mr. Clark has said helium volition invoke his Fifth Amendment close against self-incrimination.
Another imaginable witness, John Eastman, a lawyer who wrote a memo that immoderate successful some parties person likened to a blueprint for a coup to support Mr. Trump successful power, has besides indicated that helium plans to invoke the Fifth Amendment successful effect to the committee’s subpoena.
A 3rd witness, the governmental operative Roger J. Stone Jr., told the committee this week that he, too, planned to invoke his close against self-incrimination successful defying a subpoena, declining to beryllium for an interrogation oregon nutrient documents.
“Given that the prime committee’s request for documents is overbroad, overreaching and acold excessively wide-ranging to beryllium deemed thing different than a sportfishing expedition, Mr. Stone has a law close to diminution to respond,” his lawyer, Grant J. Smith, wrote to the panel.