The House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol Riot riot confirmed that it will hold former president Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows in criminal contempt for noncompliance with the panel’s orders.
“The Select Committee is left with no choice but to advance contempt proceedings and recommend that the body in which Mr. Meadows once served refer him for criminal prosecution,” committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, wrote in a statement released Wednesday.
The development comes after Meadows formally announced he would refuse to continue cooperating with the probe, according to a letter obtained by CNN that Meadows’s attorney sent to the committee on Tuesday.
“We agreed to provide thousands of pages of responsive documents and Mr. Meadows was willing to appear voluntarily, not under compulsion of the Select Committee’s subpoena to him, for a deposition to answer questions about non-privileged matters,” attorney George J. Terwilliger III said. “Now actions by the Select Committee have made such an appearance untenable.”
“In short, we now have every indication from the information supplied to us last Friday — upon which Mr. Meadows could expect to be questioned — that the Select Committee has no intention of respecting boundaries concerning Executive Privilege,” Terwilliger added.
Given that Meadows did obey the committee’s document and interview requests as recent as last week, it is believed he changed his mind when the panel “issued wide ranging subpoenas for information from a third party communications provider,” according to the letter.
His backtrack harkens back to Republican House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy’s promise in August to use the power of a future Republican-dominated Congress to penalize tech companies that turn over private user data to the committee.
“As a result of careful and deliberate consideration of these factors, we now must decline the opportunity to appear voluntarily for a deposition,” Terwilliger wrote.
He said that Meadows would however respond to written questions presented to him “so that there might be both an orderly process and a clear record of questions and related assertions of privilege where appropriate.”