Former Trump administration chief of staff Mark Meadows is reportedly complying with a subpoena request from the Department of Justice (DOJ) to hand over documents relating to its investigation of the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
According to CNN, Meadows has turned over the same evidence he gave to the January 6 House select committee, which includes thousands of text messages and emails from between Election Day 2020 and January 20, 2021, the date of President Joe Biden’s inauguration and former President Donald Trump’s final day in office.
Notably, Meadows refused to turn over hundreds of documents and communications to the January 6 committee, citing a potential violation of Trump’s so-called “executive privilege.” His refusal to comply with that portion of the committee’s subpoena resulted in the House of Representatives recommending that the DOJ charge him for contempt of Congress. However, the department has so far refused to do so.
It’s possible that the DOJ has not followed the House’s recommendation because the agency was negotiating with Meadows.
Meadows’s handing over of evidence to the DOJ means that he is now the highest-ranking former Trump administration official to comply with the department’s investigation. That inquiry has been ramping up, and now includes every aspect of Trump’s allegedly illicit actions following his election loss nearly two years ago — including his involvement in a plot to use fake electors to disrupt the Electoral College and his Save America PAC fundraising efforts that misled donors into believing they were giving him money for his legal challenges against the election’s results.
Many on social media saw Meadows’s actions as proof he was cooperating with the investigation.
“This is why DOJ did not prosecute Meadows for contempt of Congress: he was already working with them,” said Tristan Snell, an anti-Trump lawyer. “This is NOT good for Trump. Meadows was Trump’s right hand man on everything related to January 6.”
Others pointed out that Meadows’s actions weren’t that noteworthy, as he was only giving the DOJ evidence he had already supplied to the January 6 committee.
“This is a start — a start — for DOJ towards Meadows’ cooperation,” said Elie Honig, a former federal prosecutor, who added that it was “odd that [the DOJ] only subpoenaed materials he already gave to the Jan. 6 Committee (as opposed to everything).”
Barb McQuade, a law professor and former U.S. attorney, agreed that Meadows’s actions weren’t definitionally cooperative.
“Subpoena compliance is not cooperation. Meadows gave DOJ same documents he already gave J6C,” McQuade tweeted. “Refusal would result in contempt and jail.”
“Cooperation means volunteering more information than you have to and substantially assisting in prosecution of others,” she added.
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