Mark Meadows will ignore Jan. 6 committee subpoena, citing executive privilege, pending litigation

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The lawyer for former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Friday that ex-aide will not comply with a subpoena from the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack in order to protect presidents’ executive privilege, and that the matter should be resolved by the courts before any action is taken. 

“Our correspondence over the last few weeks shows a sharp legal dispute with the committee. The issues concern whether Mr. Meadows can be compelled to testify and whether, even if he could , that he could be forced to answer questions that involve privileged communications,” Meadows’ attorney George Terwilliger said in a statement. “Legal disputes are appropriately resolved by courts. It would be irresponsible for Mr. Meadows to prematurely resolve that dispute by voluntarily waiving privileges that are at the heart of those legal issues.”

Former Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., became former President Donald Trump’s chief of staff late in his term. Investigators on the Jan. 6 select committee want to talk to him about the events leading up to the deadly riots. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Terwilliger added: “No matter how important the subject matter of the committee’s work, decades of litigation over Executive Privilege shows how critically important it is for a president to have access to advice and counsel without fear that political opponents in Congress will later be able to pull away the shield of confidentiality that protects candor in those communications.”

The statement comes after the committee set a deadline of 10 a.m. Friday for Meadows to comply with a subpoena from the committee. It said that if Meadows did not appear by then it would consider him in contempt of Congress. 

Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., meets with the select committee on the Jan. 6 attack as they prepare to hold their first hearing Tuesday, on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Monday, July 26, 2021.
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

“The Select Committee will view Mr. Meadows’s failure to appear at the deposition, and to produce responsive documents or a privilege log indicating the specific basis for withholding any documents you believe to be protected by privilege, as willful non-compliance,” committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said in a Thursday letter.

“Such willful noncompliance with the subpoena would force the Select Committee to consider invoking the contempt of Congress procedures,” Thompson continued, “which could result in a referral from the House of Representatives to the Department of Justice for criminal charges – as well as the possibility of having civil action to enforce the subpoena brought against Mr. Meadows in his personal capacity.” 

The Jan. 6 committee has undertaken a broad effort to force former Trump officials to provide documents and testimony as it looks into how culpable former President Donald Trump may be in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of his supporters. 

Democrats and some Republicans argue Trump is responsible for the events as he summoned thousands of his backers to Washington, D.C., angered them with false claims that the presidential election was stolen, and told them to march to the Capitol. 

Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming headlines the annual Nackey S. Loeb School’s First Amendment Honors program, which was held at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics in Manchester, N.H. on Nov. 9, 2021. Cheney is a member of the Jan. 6 select committee. 
(Fox News )

Trump and his allies, meanwhile, decry the committee as a political witch hunt. They note that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., refused to seat the choices of Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., on the committee. Democrats only allowed two Republicans highly critical of the former president on the committee. Trump allies also note Trump told the crowd to march “peacefully.”

Meadows is a former congressman from North Carolina. 

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