Ex-Trump Chief of Staff Risks Contempt Vote in Riot Probe
(Bloomberg) -- Former President Donald Trump’s last chief of staff, Mark Meadows, was warned Tuesday he risks being held in contempt of Congress if he does not appear for a Wednesday deposition before a House committee investigating the Jan. 6 mob attack on the Capitol.
The threat was delivered by the committee’s Democratic chairman and Republican vice chair after they said his lawyer informed the panel that Meadows -- a former congressman -- no longer intends to cooperate with the panel despite a subpoena to turn over documents and answer questions.
“Tomorrow’s deposition, which was scheduled at Mr. Meadows’s request, will go forward as planned,” committee Chair Bennie Thompson and Vice Chair Liz Cheney said in a joint statement.
“If indeed Mr. Meadows refuses to appear, the Select Committee will be left no choice but to advance contempt proceedings and recommend that the body in which Mr. Meadows once served refer him for criminal prosecution,” they said.
Neither Meadows nor his lawyer, George Terwilliger, immediately responded for comment.
One Trump ally, Steve Bannon, has already been indicted by a federal grand jury on two charges after the House voted him in criminal contempt for refusing to cooperate with the Jan. 6 panel. Bannon’s trial is set to begin July 18.
Read More: Bannon Trial Set for July 18 in Capitol-Riot Contempt Case
Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official and Trump adviser, faces potential House contempt action as the panel seeks to counter the former president’s efforts to thwart its inquiry into the Capitol attack that injured dozens of law enforcement officers and interrupted Congress’s certification of the 2020 Electoral College results.
The committee’s contempt action against Clark hinges on how cooperative he is in closed-door questioning rescheduled for Dec. 16.
Meadows’ own cooperation with the panel of seven Democrats and two Republicans has been in doubt since Trump lawyers made it known he wanted his former aides and allies to defy the panel’s subpoenas.
Meadows has turned over some records, including hundreds of emails, and as recently as last week signaled through Terwilliger he would be willing to appear for an initial deposition this week.
Terwilliger has said his client’s cooperation would relate only to “non-privileged topics” and that they were discussing with the committee how to proceed.
On Tuesday, Thompson and Cheney said Meadows has informed the committee “that he does not intend to cooperate further with our investigation.”
Meadows’ decision comes amid an “apparent willingness to provide details about the facts and circumstances surrounding the January 6th attack, including conversations with President Trump, in the book he is now promoting and selling,” they said, referring to Meadows’ recently published memoir “The Chief’s Chief.”
Thompson and Cheney had publicly warned Meadows in early November that the committee would consider contempt action against him after he failed to show up for a scheduled deposition.
In their statement Tuesday, they said their committee “has numerous questions for Mr. Meadows about records he has turned over to the Committee with no claim of privilege, which include real-time communications with many individuals as the events of January 6th unfolded.”
“We also need to hear from him about 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,” they said.
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