Former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows has failed to show up for a Friday deposition with the House committee investigating Jan. 6 defying a subpoena. The committee may try to hold him in contempt for his defiance but with Steve Bannon’s case languishing the threat from the committee is idle
Ahead of the scheduled deposition, Meadows’ attorney, George J. Terwilliger III, said: “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.
“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.
“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,” he said.
Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the Jan. 6 panel chair, sent a letter to Meadows that threatened him with contempt if he blew off the committee. The letter said:
“The Select Committee understands that today, November 11, 2021, you received the attached letter from the White House Counsel’s Office addressing your previously stated concern that “Mr. Meadows has not received any contrary instruction from the current Administration.”
“The White House Counsel’s letter clearly explains the current President’s position: “The President believes that the constitutional protections of executive privilege should not be used to shield information reflecting an effort to subvert the Constitution itself, and indeed believes that such an assertion in this circumstance would be at odds with the principles that underlie the privilege.”
“For that reason, and others, your client has now been advised that (i) “an assertion of privilege is not justified with respect to testimony and documents” relevant to the Select Committee’s investigation, and (ii) the President will not be asserting any claims of executive privilege or testimonial immunity regarding subjects about which the Select Committee seeks documents and testimony from Mr. Meadows.
Simply put, there is no valid legal basis for Mr. Meadows’s continued resistance to the Select Committee’s subpoena. As such, the Select Committee expects Mr. Meadows to produce all responsive documents and appear for deposition testimony tomorrow, November 12, 2021, at 10:00 a.m.
“If there are specific questions during that deposition that you believe raise legitimate privilege issues, Mr. Meadows should state them at that time on the record for the Select Committee’s consideration and possible judicial review.
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 are protected by privilege, as willful non-compliance.
“Such willful noncompliance with the subpoena would force the Select Committee to consider invoking the contempt of Congress procedures in 2 U.S.C. §§ 192, 194—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 a civil action to enforce the subpoena brought against Mr. Meadows in his personal capacity,” the letter said.
NEW: Former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows is a no-show for a deposition to the January 6 committee, setting up a potential showdown https://t.co/45p9SF6G0V
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) November 12, 2021