Mark Meadows reverses again, won’t cooperate with Jan. 6 committee

December 7, 2021
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows speaks on a phone on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, on Oct. 30, 2020.
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Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows will not cooperate with the committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, the latest reversal for a key figure in former President Donald Trump’s administration.

The decision could set up Meadows to become the latest former Trump administration official or adviser to face criminal contempt charges for refusing to comply with the committee’s subpoenas.

In November, Meadows’ attorney, George Terwilliger, said his client wouldn’t cooperate until courts ruled on Trump’s executive privilege claims. But late last month, the committee’s chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said Meadows had provided documents and soon would sit for a deposition with the committee.

On Tuesday, Terwilliger again said Meadows would not testify. In a letter sent to the committee, Terwilliger wrote Meadows “is precluded from making a unilateral decision to waive Executive Privilege claims asserted by the former president.” But he left open the possibility that Meadows could answer written questions.

The Associated Press and Politico both reported on the letter.

Terwilliger said in the letter that Meadows had agreed to provide “thousands of pages of responsive documents” to the committee and was willing to testify on “non-privileged matters.” But new information from the committee indicated “that the Select Committee has no intention of respecting boundaries concerning executive privilege,” he wrote.

He also revealed the committee had issued subpoenas to Meadows’ communications provider.

Thompson and Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo. and the committee’s vice chair, said in a joint statement the committee has “numerous questions” for Meadows about documents he already has provided without any claim of executive privilege and about “official records” from his phone and email account that were to be filed with the National Archives.

If Meadows does not show up for his scheduled deposition on Wednesday, committee leaders said Tuesday the committee will pursue contempt charges against him as it has for two others who refused to cooperate.

Several former administration officials and campaign advisers also have refused to cooperate with the committee’s investigation.

Trump is fighting a subpoena for administration records. So far, only former Trump political strategist Steve Bannon has faced criminal charges over his refusal to cooperate. He was charged with criminal contempt after ignoring a subpoena. The committee also has asked the Justice Department to charge former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark with contempt.

The committee’s subpoena seeks communications between Meadows and Trump on Jan. 6 and between Meadows and the organizers of a rally where the president spoke before the attack on the Capitol.

It also is after information about Meadows’ contact with the Justice Department and state officials to ask for investigations into election fraud. Courts dismissed more than 60 election lawsuits over lack of standing or merit.

Contributing: Bart Jansen

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