January 6 House committee will hold Mark Meadows in criminal contempt

A former high-level member of the Trump administration now faces criminal charges over his refusal to cooperate with a congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

According to Fox News, the panel voted unanimously on Monday in favor of holding former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in criminal contempt.

Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) authored a report that was released over the weekend that alleged Meadows’ testimony was necessary for the committee to fulfill its investigative duties.

Strong accusations

“Mr. Meadows was in contact with at least some of the private individuals who planned and organized a Jan. 6 rally, one of whom reportedly may have expressed safety concerns to Mr. Meadows about Jan. 6 events,” Thompson’s report indicated.

“Mr. Meadows used his personal cell phone to discuss the rally in the days leading up to Jan. 6,” the Mississippi Democrat added.

However, Meadows’ lawyer argued in a letter to the committee this week that his client’s testimony is precluded by the doctrine of executive privilege.

“The contemplated referral would be contrary to law because a good-faith invocation of executive privilege and testimonial immunity by a former senior executive official is not a crime,” attorney George Terwilliger contended.

The attorney added: “A referral to the Department of Justice based on such an invocation would ignore the statute’s legislative history and historical application, contravene well-established separation of powers principles, and improperly impute a criminal intent to a good-faith actor.”

Politics, not safety

For his part, Meadows told Fox News host Sean Hannity on Monday night that the committee’s vote was “disappointing, but not surprising.”

“Let’s be clear about this, this is not about me, holding me in contempt,” the former White House chief of staff stressed. “It’s not even about making the Capitol safer.”

“We’ve seen that by the selective leaks that are going on right now,” Meadows asserted. “This is about Donald Trump and about actually going after him once again.”

“I have tried to share non-privileged information but truly, the executive privilege that Donald Trump has claimed is not mine to waive, it’s not Congress’ to wave and that’s why we filed the lawsuit to hopefully get the courts to weigh in – hopefully they will weigh in.”

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