The House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol attack has issued a scathing report on Trump’s former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, asserting that his refusal to testify before the commission requires contempt of Congress charges.
In the 51-page report released on Sunday, the January 6 commission listed a number of issues it still wishes to discuss with Meadows — including an email he sent on January 5 detailing how the National Guard’s presence in Washington D.C. the next day would serve to “protect pro Trump people.”
As some observers have noted, including NBC News legal analyst Glenn Kirschner, the corollary to that email is that the National Guard “would not protect anti Trump people” on the day the 2020 election was certified.
The January 6 commission didn’t include the name of the email’s recipient in their report. But they did say that committee investigators want to question the former chief of staff about the contents of the email in more detail.
“We would have asked Mr. Meadows about emails regarding the deployment of the National Guard on January 6th, including a January 5th email from Mr. Meadows in which he indicates that the Guard would be present at the Capitol to, quote, ‘‘protect pro Trump people,’’ end quote,” the commission wrote, referring to a deposition Meadows skipped out on last week.
Meadows claimed that he couldn’t appear at the deposition because of executive privilege claims made by Trump. But the commission has noted that the testimony they’re seeking from Meadows relates to matters he’s already shared with them — information that Meadows himself has said is not privileged.
“Even if privileges were applicable to some aspects of Mr. Meadows’s testimony, he was required to appear before the Select Committee for his deposition, answer any questions concerning non-privileged information, and assert any such privilege on a question-by-question basis,” the commission wrote in its resolution.
Beyond the email regarding the National Guard, the commission wants to hear directly from Meadows about number of items he recently shared with them, including his text messages to one of the January 6 event organizers and his communications surrounding a plot for Republican legislatures in states that Biden won to send “alternative” electors to Congress.
Meadow’s cooperation with the commission has been inconsistent so far. Early on, Meadows was one of the few former Trump staffers who was willing to work with investigators after being subpoenaed. But later on, Meadows was threatened with contempt charges for refusing to comply with the commission’s terms for his depositions.
Meadows finally agreed to cooperate in late November, claiming he would only testify about information that wouldn’t conflict with Trump’s dubious executive privilege claims. That cooperation ended last Wednesday, when he failed to appear at a deposition that was scheduled to discuss non-privileged matters.
The January 6 commission will vote to forward contempt charges to the House of Representatives on Monday; the House is expected to vote on those charges later this week. If a majority votes to affirm the charges, as is expected, Meadows would become the third person to be held in contempt of Congress for violating subpoena orders from the commission, joining former Department of Justice official Jeffrey Clark and former White House strategist Steve Bannon.