Jan. 6 Committee Puts Mark Meadows On Public Notice

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The House committee investigating the Capitol riot is continuing its pursuit of information from Mark Meadows, who was Trump’s White House chief of staff at the time of the violence. After Meadows sued the committee late last year in an attempt to block subpoenas from panel investigators, the committee has now (besides other, intervening steps) filed a motion for summary judgment, seeking to get Meadows’s in-court obstruction stopped. Notably, committee investigators revealed in their push for the court to shut down Meadows’s claims that ex-Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson told them that “people had brought information forward to [Meadows] that had indicated that there could be violence on the 6th.” In other words, he’s in a position to provide critical information about behind-the-scenes developments around Trump in specific relation to the violence.

“The Select Committee’s filing today urges the Court to reject Mark Meadows’s baseless claims and put an end to his obstruction of our investigation,” committee leaders Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said. “Mr. Meadows is hiding behind broad claims of executive privilege even though much of the information we’re seeking couldn’t possibly be covered by privilege and courts have rejected similar claims because the committee’s interest in getting to the truth is so compelling. It’s essential that the American people fully understand Mr. Meadows’s role in events before, on, and after January 6th. His attempt to use the courts to cover up that information must come to an end.” The subpoenas that Meadows hoped to stop with his lawsuit target him and Verizon, which possesses some phone records of his.

In line with other Trump-aligned attempts to obstruct critical investigations, Meadows has cited executive privilege claims as a defense for refusing to comply, but the riot panel argues that their hope to question the former White House official about materials he’s already given them substantially undercuts those privilege claims. Investigators also insisted in their filing this week that Meadows was working in a non-governmental capacity — rather than in his White House role — in certain efforts to prop up Trump’s bid to stay in office even after losing the presidential race. Having acted in a non-governmental capacity would seemingly also undercut claims of executive privilege. Going forward, investigators indicated they were pressing onward with hopes to question Meadows about specific topics including the assembling of faked electoral votes for Trump in states that Biden won — an effort that had no legal foundation but was part of the sprawling, harebrained schemes to keep Trump in power.

Meadows has also been referred by the full House to the Justice Department for prosecution on contempt of Congress allegations over his refusal to continue cooperating, although it remains unclear at this juncture whether he’ll face charges, which are ultimately up to Justice Department officials. Overall, the riot panel already heard from over 830 people and will soon be holding public hearings to outline their findings.