The House select committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob is poised to vote to hold Mark Meadows, the former White House chief of staff, in criminal contempt for defying a subpoena.
The committee, led by Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, has released damning information about Meadows’ role in the attack — when hundreds of Trump supporters violently stormed the Capitol and interrupted Congress’ certification of Biden’s electoral victory.
Thompson and his committee believe Meadows’ testimony could be key to information gathering about the deadly riot, as he was Trump’s top aide at the time and was with him in the White House as the rioters breached the building. But after submitting thousands of documents to the committee in recent days, Meadows has stopped cooperating with the committee, which is scheduled to vote Monday night on holding Meadows in contempt.
The entire House is likely to vote later this week to approve the resolution, meaning Meadows would face criminal prosecution under the U.S. Department of Justice. Others, including Trump strategist Steve Bannon, have been indicted by the DOJ for not cooperating with the House investigation.
An attorney for Meadows said the former chief of staff stopped cooperating with the panel because it was asking for information protected under executive privilege.
The bipartisan Jan. 6 committee, in a report released by Thompson on Sunday night, revealed it has documents showing that Meadows said the National Guard “would be present to ‘protect pro Trump people’” on Jan. 6.
The report also highlights details from documents that Meadows turned over to the committee before Meadows decided to stop cooperating. Among them is the email in which Meadows made the comments about the National Guard, adding that “many more would be available on standby” to protect pro-Trump demonstrators, according to the Washington Post.
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In its report, the committee said it seeks more information from Meadows on text messages he exchanged with the organizer of the Jan. 6 rally on the Ellipse that preceded the attack on the Capitol. The organizer texted Meadows that things “have gotten crazy and I desperately need some direction. Please.” The committee also wants to know more about messages Meadows received regarding “apparent efforts” to encourage Republican lawmakers in certain states to send alternate slates of electors to Congress in an attempt to undo Biden’s win. In texts, a member of Congress told Meadows that the plan was “highly controversial,” and Meadows texted back, “I love it.”
The documents also show that Meadows forwarded claims of election fraud to Department of Justice leaders for further investigation — “some of which he may have received using a private email account.”
Meadows, the committee’s report claims, also reportedly introduced Trump to then-DOJ official Jeffrey Clark, who recommended to Trump that he be installed as acting attorney general and that state officials be told to appoint alternate slates of electors.
The then-chief of staff also reportedly “participated in meetings and calls during which the participants reportedly discussed the need to ‘‘fight’ back against ‘mounting evidence’ of purported voter fraud,” according to the panel’s report.Washington Post on Dec. 13, 2021