Meadows Sues Pelosi, Jan. 6 Committee to Block Subpoenas
(Bloomberg) -- Former President Donald Trump’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows sued House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Jan. 6 committee investigating the Capitol riot to block subpoenas compelling him to testify.
Meadows, a former member of Congress, asked a judge to invalidate the subpoenas, calling them “overly broad and unduly burdensome,” in a complaint filed Wednesday in Washington federal court.
The suit is the latest clash between the committee and Republicans who have vowed not to cooperate with the probe into the violent attack on the Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters that led to several deaths. Former Trump campaign chairman Steve Bannon is set to go on trial in July on criminal contempt charges over his refusal to cooperate with the investigation.
Meadows was scheduled to appear before the committee in a closed-door session Wednesday, but didn’t show and now faces criminal contempt of Congress proceedings.
“The select committee acts absent any valid legislative power and threatens to violate longstanding principles of executive privilege and immunity that are of constitutional origin and dimension,” Meadows said in the complaint.
Mississippi Democrat Bennie Thompson, the committee’s chairman, and Vice Chair Liz Cheney, a Republican from Wyoming, said Meadows’ “flawed lawsuit won’t succeed at slowing down the select committee’s investigation or stopping us from getting the information we’re seeking.”
The committee will meet next week and recommend to the House that Meadows be cited for contempt and the case referred to the Department of Justice for prosecution, Thompson and Cheney said in the joint statement Wednesday.
Earlier Wednesday, Thompson told reporters the investigation doesn’t rise or fall on Meadows and Bannon and there are four depositions set for Thursday.
Meadows, who is now part of a legal nonprofit group suing the Biden administration over its policy initiatives, said in the filing that he has “consistently sought in good faith” to accommodate the committee, to no avail.
“The select committee adamantly refused to recognize the immunity of present and former senior White House aides from being compelled to appear before Congress,” he said in the filing.
Bannon was indicted in November on two counts of contempt of Congress for defying subpoenas from the House Jan. 6 select committee seeking his testimony and production of documents. The charges are misdemeanors that each carry a maximum sentence of one year in prison.
In addition, Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official and Trump adviser, faces potential House contempt action. The committee’s decision on whether to do so hinges on how cooperative he is in closed-door questioning rescheduled for Dec. 16.
The case is Meadows v. Pelosi, 21-cv-03217, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).
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