One man who probably knew more about what Donald Trump was doing as his base carried out the January 6 failed coup faces criminal charges. He has been following the ex-president’s playbook for how to handle subpoenas, which is to toss them in the trash. This time, though, the bipartisan committee is having none of it.
Its members subpoenaed Trump’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in September to testify and produce documents by Friday 10 a.m. or “risk” contempt charges, according to MSNBC’s The 11th Hour with Brian Williams. He had more knowledge about what was going on in and outside of the White House than even former adviser Steve three-shirts Bannon. That is why the Committee has been so keen on interrogating him. But they have no patience for his reluctance. So what can they do?
They have already referred Bannon to Attorney General (AG) Merrick Garland. Yet, the AG appeared almost too cautious about prosecuting the Trump adviser. Time is short. If he does not get a move on, the Republicans could retake the House and dissolve the Committee.
Committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS) informed Meadow’s attorney by letter that “there is no valid legal basis for Mr. Meadows’s continued resistance to the Select Committee’s subpoena,” Axios reported:
‘As such, the Select Committee expects Mr. Meadows to produce all responsive documents and appear for deposition testimony tomorrow, November 12, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. If there are specific questions during that deposition that you believe raise legitimate privilege issues, Mr. Meadows should state them at that time on the record for the Select Committee’s consideration and possible judicial review.’
The Committee considered non-compliance an issue of contempt:
‘[W]illful non-compliance. [It] would force the Select Committee to consider invoking the contempt of Congress procedures … as well as the possibility of having a civil action to enforce [Meadows’] the subpoena.’
White House deputy counsel Jonathan Su sent George Terwilliger, Meadow’s attorney, a follow-up letter noting:
‘The President believes that the constitutional protections of executive privilege should not be used to shield information reflecting an effort to subvert the Constitution itself, and indeed believes that such an assertion in this circumstance would be at odds with the principles that underlie the privilege.’
But Terwilliger’s statement indicated that Meadows had no intention of complying:
‘Contrary to decades of consistent bipartisan opinions from the Justice Department that senior aides cannot be compelled by Congress to give testimony, this is the first president to make no effort whatsoever to protect presidential communications from being the subject of compelled testimony.’
Meadows’ attorney continued:
‘Mr. Meadows remains under the instruction of former President Trump to respect longstanding principles of executive privilege. It now appears the courts will have to resolve this conflict.’
Of course, there is another option. Although it has not been used for almost a century, the Select Committee has the power to enforce its own subpoenas.
Three White Lions podcast, Gloria Christie reads her week’s most important news/ commentary stories in the liberal online newspaper The Bipartisan Report. Gloria Christie Report her newsletter for people on the go. Written in her own unique style with a twist of humor in a briefer version of Bipartisan Report. Christie’s Mueller Report Adventures In Bite-Sizes a real-life compelling spy mystery. Find her here on Facebook.