Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Liz Cheney (R-WY) announced the January 6 Select Committee, which is investigating the events that took place at the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021, would hold President Donald Trump’s former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in contempt of Congress if he refused to appear before a voluntary deposition Wednesday.
Politico reported that Cheney and Thompson issued a letter, stating, “Tomorrow’s deposition, which was scheduled at Mr. Meadows’s request, will go forward as planned. If indeed Mr. Meadows refuses to appear, the Select Committee will be left no choice but to advance contempt proceedings and recommend that the body in which Mr. Meadows once served refer him for criminal prosecution.”
The letter also said that they had “numerous questions” regarding information he had already turned over to the committee, adding, they “also need to hear from him about voluminous official records stored in his personal phone and email accounts, which were required to be turned over to the National Archives in accordance with the Presidential Records Act.”
BREAKING: The Jan. 6 committee will hold Mark Meadows in contempt if he doesn’t appear for a deposition tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/PuJyvumYjg
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) December 7, 2021
Earlier on Tuesday, CNN reported that Meadow’s attorney George J. Terwilliger II released a letter notifying the committee that his client would no longer be participating:
“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. Now actions by the Select Committee have made such an appearance untenable,” the letter from George J. Terwilliger II stated.
“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.
“As a result of careful and deliberate consideration of these factors, we now must decline the opportunity to appear voluntarily for a deposition,” Terwilliger writes.
Politico also reported that Meadows’ decision was “partly motivated by the fact that the Jan. 6 committee had subpoenaed his private phone records.”
“We found that in spite of our cooperation and sharing documents with them, unbeknownst to us, without even a courtesy call, issued a subpoena to third-party carrier trying to get information,” Meadows told Real America’s Voice, “and at this point, we feel like it’s best that we just continue to honor the executive privilege, and it looks like the courts are going to have to weigh in on this.”
Meadows is reportedly a particular target of the January 6 committee because of his close ties to the former president, and the committee claimed in September that “Meadows reportedly communicated with officials at the state level and in the Department of Justice as part of an effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election or prevent the election’s certification.”
Previously, the January 6 committee held former Trump advisor Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress, which led to the host of “War Room” being indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice in a rare move.