(PresidentialWire.com)- On Monday night, the House panel investigating the January 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol building recommended criminal contempt of Congress charges be filed against Mark Meadows.
The former chief of staff for the White House is not cooperating with the panel’s subpoena now, after initially saying he would. The full membership of the House of Representatives will now vote to decide whether Meadows’ case will be passed along to the Department of Justice, which would ultimately make the final decision on whether to pursue those criminal charges.
As Democratic Representative Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the committee, said:
“The select committee’s report referring Mr. Meadows for criminal contempt charges is clear and compelling. As White House chief of staff, Mr. Meadows played a role in or was witness to key events leading up to and including the January 6th assault on the United States Capitol.”
Meadows’ argument all along has been that some of the things the committee is asking from him are protected by executive privilege. In fact, his attorney released a statement of his own ahead of the House’s planned vote that said Meadows was still cooperating with the committee.
However, he also said he can’t be compelled to appear for questioning by the committee, since he’s not “licensed to waive Executive Privilege” that former President Donald Trump is claiming.
In the statement, attorney George J. Terwilliger III said:
“[Meadows] has fully cooperated as to documents in his possession that are not privileged and has sought various means to provide other information while continuing to honor the former president’s privilege claims.”
Meadows becomes the second former official in the Trump administration that the January 6 House panel has recommended for criminal contempt of Congress charges. In October, Steve Bannon received the same recommendation and was ultimately indicted by a grand jury and formally charged with refusing to comply with the committee’s subpoena.
Bannon is set to go to trial in that case next July.
Another former Trump official who served in the Department of Justice, Jeffrey Clark, was also set to be charged with contempt. The House panel decided to give him another opportunity to testify. He says he plans to plead the Fifth when he testifies.
At the same time that this is all happening, the committee is plowing forward with the rest of its investigation. It’s getting cooperation with some key witnesses, including Keith Kellogg, who served as the national security adviser to former Vice President Mike Pence.
The committee said in its subpoena to Kellogg that it wants to learn more about a meeting in January 2021 that occurred between Pat Cipollone, the former White House attorney, and Trump. At that meeting, it’s alleged that Trump insisted the vice president not certify the results of the 2020 presidential election.
The committee also believes Kellogg has “direct information” about Trump’s “statements about and reactions to the Capitol insurrection,” since he was present at the White House on the day of the attacks.