January 6 panel eyes Meadows contemptuous voice but ‘will not hurry’

WASHINGTON (AP) – The chairman of the House Committee, which is investigating the uprising in the US Capitol on January 6, says there are still …

WASHINGTON (AP) – The chairman of the House Committee investigating the uprising in the US Capitol on January 6 says there is still time for former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to comply with a subpoena before the panel goes ahead with a vote to keep him in contempt of Congress.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., Said Tuesday that the committee “will not rush” to make it clear that it has given the former North Carolina congressman more opportunities to cooperate. At the same time, the panel is prepared to despise Meadows in the coming weeks if he does not give lawmakers any information about his role, and that of former President Donald Trumps when the Capitol was attacked that day.

The panel is also discussing a vote to hold former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark in contempt after Clark showed up for a deposit earlier this month and declined to answer questions. Clark is a former Assistant Secretary of Justice who joined Trump after Trump lost the 2020 election and pressured the Department of Justice to help topple his defeat.

“We believe we are on a healthy footing at this time, but following advice from advisers, we want to be able to indicate that we have done our best in good faith to obtain this information,” Thompson told reporters Tuesday. . . He said the panel is unlikely to hold a contempt vote before lawmakers leave town for the Thanksgiving break.

Meadows’ lawyer has repeatedly made it clear that he will not comply with the September subpoena, claiming that Trump has said he will assert executive privilege over the testimony. Meadows was Trump’s top aide at the time of the uprising, unlike longtime Trump ally Steve Bannon, who was held in contempt by Parliament in October and indicted last week. Bannon had left the White House years earlier.

The committee has rejected these arguments, especially as the White House has said President Joe Biden would relinquish any privilege over Meadows’ interview, and as the courts have so far thwarted Trump’s efforts to prevent the committee from gathering information. The House of Representatives panel has claimed they have questions for Meadows and Clark, as they did with Bannon, which does not directly involve talks with Trump and could not possibly be blocked by privilege claims.

“We want to make a similar expansive argument with Meadows and Clark as we did with Bannon,” Thompson said.

Meadows’ lawyer, George Terwilliger, said last week that the courts should decide whether privilege applies.

“It would be irresponsible for Mr. Meadows to resolve this dispute prematurely by voluntarily renouncing privileges that are at the heart of these legal issues,” Terwilliger said.

One area of ​​focus for the panel is Meadows’ personal phone and email, and whether he used them to communicate with others as hundreds of Trump supporters attacked the Capitol and in advance.

“If he actually used a personal phone instead of a government phone while serving as chief of staff, it limits his argument that he is protected – or email,” Thompson said.

Meadows, a prolific writer, was known for using a personal cell number during his time as White House Chief of Staff. The number that has since been interrupted was the same as the one he had used as a Republican member of Congress, with an area code from his home state of North Carolina.

Trump administration officials were repeatedly quoted as using their personal emails to conduct public business.

In the committee’s subpoena in September, Thompson cited Meadows’ efforts to overthrow Trump’s defeat in the weeks leading up to the uprising and his pressure on government officials to pressure the former president’s false allegations of widespread electoral fraud.

“You were the President’s Chief of Staff and have critical information on many elements of our investigation,” Thompson wrote. “It appears that you were with or near President Trump on January 6, had communications with the President and others on January 6 regarding events at the Capitol, and are a witness to the day’s activities.”

Bannon surrendered Monday to FBI agents after he was indicted on Friday on two federal charges of criminal contempt – one for refusing to appear for a congressional filing and the other for refusing to provide documents in response to the committee’s subpoena.

He appeared before a judge on Monday to face federal criminal charges and is due back in court on Thursday.

Bannon’s lawyer, David Schoen, said his client did not appear before Congress after Trump claimed executive privilege would apply.

Bannon spoke with Trump before the uprising and predicted on January 5 that “hell will break loose” the next day.


Associated Press writer Jill Colvin contributed to this report.

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