Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows ratcheted up his battle with the House select committee investigating the January 6 riot at the Capitol, suing the panel along with Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The suit comes shortly after Meadows announced that he would no longer cooperate with the committee due in part to subpoenas over private phone records the committee sought from Verizon.
“As a result of careful and deliberate consideration of these factors, we now must decline the opportunity to appear voluntarily for a deposition,” his attorney wrote in a letter to the anti-Trump-dominated panel.
The committee responded by declaring they would pursue a criminal contempt referral against Meadows because of his refusal to sit for the deposition.
Meadows volleyed back with a lawsuit.
CNN informs that Meadows is “asking a federal court to block enforcement of the subpoena the committee issued him as well as the subpoena it issued to Verizon for his phone records.”
They also note the lawsuit is against the “House select committee investigating January 6 and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.”
Former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows is suing the House committee investigating January 6 and House Speaker Nancy Pelosihttps://t.co/KVaO0nMh38
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) December 8, 2021
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Mark Meadows Sues House Committee
The lawsuit put forth by Mark Meadows mentions that President Joe Biden has refused to assert executive privilege in the matter, something former President Donald Trump has sought and which puts him in conflict with ongoing litigation elsewhere.
Select Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) insists the committee “have authority because we were created by the House of Representatives.”
Thompson, who also admitted “I’m not a lawyer or judge,” has previously suggested that anyone being investigated who invokes their fifth amendment rights against self-incrimination must be guilty, an idea which goes against American values in so many ways.
Thompson was speaking about former Trump DOJ official Jeffrey Clark who had also been subpoenaed but planned on pleading the fifth.
“If he is saying, ‘I’ll come but I’ll plead the Fifth,’ in some instances that says you are part and parcel guilty to what occurred,” Thompson claimed without evidence.
Meadows has not indicated he will claim 5th Amendment protections.
— Andrew Wilkow (@WilkowMajority) December 2, 2021
Committee Will Pursue Contempt Charges
Despite the new lawsuit launched by Mark Meadows, the House select committee has said they will continue to pursue contempt of Congress charges against him.
Thompson issued a statement along with ranking member Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY).
“Mr. Meadows’s flawed lawsuit won’t succeed at slowing down the Select Committee’s investigation or stopping us from getting the information we’re seeking,” the duo said.
“The Select Committee will meet next week to advance a report recommending that the House cite Mr. Meadows for contempt of Congress and refer him to the Department of Justice for prosecution.”
NEW: Mark Meadows’ lawsuit is a multi-faceted attack on the committee — but Bennie Thompson and Liz Cheney say they plan to hold him in criminal contempt as soon as next week, despite the suit. The latest, w @joshgerstein @woodruffbets @nicholaswu12 https://t.co/sLTyjAEtmi
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) December 8, 2021
Meadows’ reversal on cooperation with the committee is fraught with risk.
Former Trump White House adviser Steve Bannon was indicted by a federal grand jury on two contempt-of-Congress charges related to his refusal to testify and provide documents to the committee.
Nine Republicans joined Democrats in voting to hold Bannon in contempt.
Bannon’s lawyer David Schoen acknowledges that the validity of Trump’s exec privilege assertion is being litigated, but argued Bannon at the time he was subpoenaed had an obligation to honor it pic.twitter.com/lIXNU7rPpw
— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) November 15, 2021
‘Never Trump’ Republican Liz Cheney said of Meadows’ lawsuit, “We look forward to litigating that.”
There’s an ongoing pandemic that nobody in Congress has quite figured out how to deal with. There are necessary investigations into what happened in Afghanistan over the summer. There is a humanitarian crisis at the border.
But Cheney ‘looks forward’ to fighting for a deposition and private phone records.
“[T]hey are doing a fishing expedition,” Meadows said of the committee. “It’s broadly believed that they’ve issued more subpoenas in the last two months than they have in the last decade.”
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