Mark Meadows to Take Questions From Jan. 6 Riot Panel
(Bloomberg) -- Former President Donald Trump’s last chief of staff Mark Meadows has agreed to sit for closed-door questioning by a House committee investigating the Jan. 6 mob attack at the Capitol, the panel’s chairman said.
Meadows, who is among those instructed by Trump lawyers to defy congressional subpoenas, has already turned over some records and engaged with the committee through his lawyer, forestalling any potential contempt of Congress action.
“He has produced records to the committee and will soon appear for an initial deposition. The Select Committee expects all witnesses, including Mr. Meadows, to provide all information requested and that the Select Committee is lawfully entitled to receive,” Mississippi Democrat Bennie Thompson, the panel’s chairman, said. “The committee will continue to assess his degree of compliance with our subpoena after the deposition.”
Meadows’ lawyer, George Terwilliger, described his client’s cooperation as related to “non-privileged topics” and said they are discussing with the committee how to proceed.
“As we have from the beginning, we continue to work with the Select Committee and its staff to see if we can reach an accommodation that does not require Mr. Meadows to waive executive privilege or to forfeit the long-standing position that senior White House aides cannot be compelled to testify before Congress,” Terwilliger said in a statement. “We appreciate the Select Committee’s openness to receiving voluntary responses on non-privileged topics.”
Thompson and the committee’s Republican vice chair, Liz Cheney of Wyoming, had warned Meadows, a former Republican congressman, publicly in early November that the committee would consider contempt action against him after he failed to show up for a scheduled deposition.
The news comes as the Jan. 6 panel of seven Democrats and two Republicans has set a Wednesday vote on whether to recommend the House hold former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark in contempt of Congress for his lack of cooperation under subpoena.
The committee on Tuesday evening released its contempt report against Clark, which is part of the recommendation the panel will consider sending to the full House.
Clark “proposed that the Department of Justice (DOJ) send a letter to officials of the State of Georgia and other states suggesting that they call special legislative sessions to investigate allegations of voter fraud and consider appointing new slates of electors,” the report says, citing documents and testimony gathered by the Select Committee. “Clark also met with White House officials, including then-President Trump, to discuss efforts to delegitimize, disrupt, or overturn the election.”
When Clark appeared for a deposition to the committee on Nov. 5, he refused to produce any documents or answer committee questions, according to the report, adding that his “refusal to comply with the Select Committee’s subpoena represents willful default under the law and warrants referral to the United States attorney for the District of Columbia for prosecution under the contempt of Congress statute as prescribed by law.”
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Tuesday that a contempt vote by the full House referring the matter to the Justice Department for prosecution could occur later this week.
In October, the House took contempt action against Steve Bannon, who served as Trump’s chief political strategist and helped run his 2016 campaign. With the committee’s recommendation, Democrats who control the House voted to hold Bannon in criminal contempt of Congress for his defiance and referred the matter to the Justice Department for prosecution.
A federal grand jury indicted him on two counts of contempt of Congress this month.
Separately, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger met privately with the committee on Monday, a person familiar confirmed to Bloomberg News. Raffensperger told the Atlanta Journal Constitution in an interview that he spoke to the panel about a Jan. 2 call with Trump in which the former president encouraged him to “find” 11,780 more votes.
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