Mark Meadows is withdrawing his voluntary cooperation with the Jan. 6 select committee after he and his lawyer would not accommodate some of its requests.
The lawyer for Donald Trump's former chief of staff informed committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson in a letter Tuesday that Meadows would no longer comply with the subpoena due to demands for information he said is protected by executive privilege and questions about the committee’s “fairness” in dealing with his client.
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“The Select Committee has no intention of respecting boundaries concerning Executive Privilege,” attorney George Terwilliger wrote.
Terwilliger said that Meadows “consistently sought in good faith to pursue an accommodation with the Select Committee” until it tried to obtain privileged information.
He pointed to the select committee’s subpoenaing of Meadows’s cellphone records as one of these oversteps, which he said Meadows was going to turn over after screening for privileged information.
The letter then questioned if the committee is able to deal with the witnesses fairly, since Thompson said last week that former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark asserting his Fifth Amendment rights “says [he is] part and parcel guilty.”
“Mr. Chairman, your recent comments in regard to another witness that his assertion of 5th Amendment rights before the Select Committee is tantamount to an admission of guilt calls into question for us what we had hoped would be the Select Committee’s commitment to fundamental fairness in dealing with witnesses,” Terwilliger wrote.
He ended by stating that it does not fall within Congress’s powers “to conduct law enforcement investigations or free-standing ‘fact finding’ missions.”
Thompson and ranking member Liz Cheney said the committee still has "numerous questions" for Meadows, indicating his planned Wednesday deposition "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," Thompson and Cheney said in a statement.
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The House may ultimately vote to hold Meadows in contempt of Congress, which would prompt a court case. The House voted to hold former Trump adviser Steve Bannon in contempt for defying his Jan. 6 subpoena in October, with the trial tentatively set for next July.