Former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows Reaches Cooperation Deal With Congress' January 6 Committee
17:04 GMT 30.11.2021 (Updated: 13:26 GMT 06.08.2022)
Former US President Donald Trump has fought the House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection by his followers tooth and nail, claiming documents and testimony sought by the committee are protected by the aegis of executive privilege. Earlier on Tuesday, Trump's case was argued before a federal appeals court.
With a contempt of Congress charge deemed "imminent" in recent days, Trump's former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, has reportedly reached a deal to cooperate with a subpoena by the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the US Capitol.
“Mr. Meadows has been engaging with the Select Committee through his attorney. He has produced records to the committee and will soon appear for an initial deposition," chairman of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the US Capitol, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), said in a Tuesday news release.
"The Select Committee expects all witnesses, including Mr. Meadows, to provide all information requested and that the Select Committee is lawfully entitled to receive. The committee will continue to assess his degree of compliance with our subpoena after the deposition.”
Meadows' lawyer, George Terwilliger, told CNN in a separate statement on Tuesday that they were continuing to try and "reach an accommodation that does not require Mr. Meadows to waive Executive Privilege or to forfeit the long-standing position that senior White House aides cannot be compelled to testify before Congress. We appreciate the Select Committee's openness to receiving voluntary responses on non-privileged topics."
Subpoenaed to appear on November 12, Meadows initially followed the trend of other Trump affiliates in bucking the committee's demands after Trump attempted to shield such information by claiming it is protected by executive privilege. However, the courts have not accepted that argument and have repeatedly struck it down. A federal appeals court heard arguments on the case earlier on Tuesday.
On Sunday, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) told CNN that a filing for criminal contempt against Meadows was likely before the week was out. Meadows' sudden change of heart was likely motivated by the booking of another Trump affiliate, far-right ideologue and former senior adviser Steve Bannon, on two criminal contempt charges earlier this month.
Meadows' testimony is wanted by the committee as someone with “with close ties to the former President who were working in or had communications with the White House on or in the days leading up to the January 6 insurrection."
As chief of staff to then-President Trump, he helped coordinate the "Stop the Steal" rally outside the White House on January 6, which immediately preceded the storming of the US Capitol Building. At the rally, Trump urged his attending followers to stop the certification of the November 2020 election results, which he claimed were fraudulent because they were won by the Democratic candidate, Joe Biden.
Following the rally, thousands of Trump supporters stormed the national legislature, where a joint session of Congress was meeting to certify the election results. Although Congress was temporarily dispersed, the rioters failed to achieve their objective, and after police cleared the building, lawmakers reconvened and completed their constitutionally mandated task. Five people were killed in the assault, including a US Capitol Police officer and a female rioter who was shot by an officer while attempting to break through a door outside the House chamber.
In the aftermath, thousands of National Guard troops garrisoned the capital city for months, although persistent questions remain about why they weren't deployed beforehand and were so slow to react to USCP requests for help. Biden was inaugurated president on January 20 under heavy guard, and Trump was impeached on accusations of fomenting the insurrection. In a trial several weeks after leaving office, Trump was acquitted of the charges by a minority of senators.