The House Rules Committee holds a hearing on Mark Meadows contempt citation
The House of Representatives could vote on the contempt referral for former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows as early as Tuesday afternoon, after the House Select Committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol voted unanimously Monday night to recommend prosecution for criminal contempt of Congress after he refused to testify before the panel.
All members of the panel — seven Democrats and two Republicans — voted 9-0 in favor of prosecution for Meadows.
The House Rules Committee on Tuesday morning approved the rule for how the full House of Representatives will vote, which could happen as early as Tuesday afternoon.
Meadows had been cooperating with the committee and its investigation into the events surrounding the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Meadows had provided records to the panel and was even expected to testify, but he stopped working with members earlier this month and is now suing the committee.
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speaks with reporters outside the White House, Oct. 26, 2020, in Washington.
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
Reacting to the vote Monday night on “Hannity,” Meadows said the outcome was “disappointing but not surprising.”
“This is not about me holding me in contempt — it’s not even about making the Capitol safe, or we see that by some of the selective leaks that are going on right now,” Meadows said. “This is about Donald Trump and about actually going after him once again, continuing to go after Donald Trump.”
Meadows added that “when we look at the real results of this investigation, it is not really the foundation is not based on a legislative purpose.”
A Monday letter from Meadows’ attorney, George Terwilliger, argued that referring Meadows for contempt would harm the institution of the presidency by treading on the separation of powers, potentially making future presidential advisers reluctant to offer the president their full and honest advice on key decisions.
The Jan. 6 Committee, however, is maintaining that it is asserting its constitutional powers of oversight and investigation. Committee Chair Benny Thompson, D-Miss., and Ranking Member Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said last week that Meadows’ claims of privilege do not extend to much of what he would discuss with the committee.
Meanwhile, Meadows said that the committee is focusing on “the part that fits their narrative.”
“What we do know, and one of the things that is coming out more and more clearly each and every day, is that everyone condemned what happened in terms of the breach of the security on the Capitol on Jan. 6,” Meadows said. “But what we also know is that President Trump wanted to make sure that the people that came, that there was a safe environment for that kind of assembly.”
Meadows, referring to the “10,000 National Guard troops,” said Trump “wanted to make sure everything was safe and secure.”
“And yet, the way that some of the Democrats are spinning this, trying to spin some nefarious purpose,” Meadows said, adding that he believes they “are going to find that not only did the president act, but he acted quickly.”
Meadows added that the National Guard troops were “able to respond when they did” because “Trump had actually put them on alert.”
As for the criminal contempt referral — if approved by the House, it will be turned over to the Justice Department.
Meadows, defending himself, said “when you look at the criminal component of this, the intent, there’s never been an intent on my part.”
Meadows, who had shared “non-privileged” information with the committee, argued that the executive privileged information is up to Trump to waive.
“The executive privilege that Donald Trump has claimed is his to waive— it’s not mine to waive, is not Congress’ to waive,” Meadows said. “And that’s why we filed a lawsuit to hopefully get the courts to weigh in. Hopefully, they’ll weigh in.”
Meadows is the latest Trump adviser to face the legal ire of Jan. 6 committee. In November, a federal grand jury charged former senior Trump adviser Steve Bannon with two counts of contempt of Congress.
Bannon was charged after failing to appear for a deposition in front of the Jan. 6 committee as well as for not handing over requested documents in the face of the committee’s subpoena, according to the Justice Department.
Fox News’ Jon Brown and Tyler Olson contributed to this report.
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