6 January Panel Recommends to Hold Donald Trump's Former Chief of Staff in Contempt of Congress

© REUTERS / ALEXANDER DRAGOWhite House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speaks to reporters following a television interview, outside the White House in Washington, U.S. October 21, 2020
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speaks to reporters following a television interview, outside the White House in Washington, U.S. October 21, 2020 - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.12.2021
The committee is investigating whether the Trump administration had any role in the massive protests near the Capitol on 6 January, that culminated in the storming of the building, and left five people dead and over 100 injured.
The US House Select Committee investigating the 6 January storming of the Capitol has recommended holding former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in contempt of Congress after he ignored the committee's subpoena and failed to testify before it. In a report released on Sunday, the committee described in detail the investigation it had conducted into Mr Meadows and said it is seeking information from the former official about several issues

Among other things, the panel's report revealed that the ex-White House chief of staff "sent an email to an individual" about the pro-Trump rallies held on 6 January. Mr Meadows wrote "that the National Guard would be present to 'protect pro Trump people' and that many more would be available on standby".

The committee also said that the former official participated in meetings and calls with government officials, lawmakers, and Donald Trump himself during which the participants discussed proposals to challenge the results of the 2020 presidential election. The measures suggested during those meetings and calls included:
seizing voting machines;
invoking certain federal laws like the National Emergencies Act;
appointing one of the attendees as a special counsel with Top Secret security clearance to investigate purported voter fraud;
The committee noted that several White House officials, including Mark Meadows resisted some of the proposals, which prompted Donald Trump to reportedly say:

"You [White House] guys are offering me nothing. These guys are at least offering me a chance. They're saying they have the evidence [of alleged voter fraud]. Why not try this?"

At the end of November, it was reported that Meadows had reached an agreement with the 6 January Committee that would see him provide documents related to the issue and appear in front of the committee for an initial deposition.

Yet, later he made an about-face and refused to testify before the committee, citing executing privilege, a common law that provides immunity from subpoenas to executive branch officials during their tenure in office.
He has also sued the panel's members and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, claiming the individuals lack the legal authority to obtain the information they request and describing the subpoenas as "overly broad and unduly burdensome".
Mr Meadows is the third person from the Trump administration to face contempt charges from the panel. The other two are former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark and ex-Trump aide Steve Bannon, who has been indicted on the charges.

Why Does it Matter?

Since the storming of the Capitol on 6 January questions have been raised as to whether the Trump administration's actions led to the tragic event, which has polarised the American public and whether government officials and the president himself had any role in organising the attack.

The allegations against the Trump administration stem from their statements about the results of the 2020 presidential election, which the Republican lost to Democrat Joe Biden. Donald Trump and his allies have claimed that the vote was rigged by the Democrats, alleging that voting machines were manipulated to affect the results of the vote, with some officials charging that foreign nations were involved in the plot.

The former president and his supporters have filed more than 50 lawsuits in several states demanding recounts of ballots, citing voter fraud. Most of them have been withdrawn or thrown out of court due to a lack of evidence.

On the day members of Congress were convening to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election, Donald Trump held a so-called "Stop the Steal" rally that was attended by thousands of his supporters.

Addressing the crowd, Donald Trump and other speakers at the rally reiterated claims about the election being stolen. Trump also called on his supporters to "march" on Congress.

"You are the people that built this nation. You have to get your people to fight", the president told his supporters.

During the rally, hundreds of supporters headed to the Capitol, with a large group of people storming the building. Five people – four protesters and a policeman - died and more than a hundred law enforcement officers were injured as Trump supporters breached the complex.

Following the incident, Democrats accused Donald Trump of inciting an "insurrection" and introduced an impeachment article against him. The Republican POTUS became the first US president to be impeached twice. The four-day trial ended with lawmakers voting 57-43 to convict Trump, but he was acquitted because a two-thirds majority (67 votes) was needed. The president said he bore no responsibility for the deadly riots and dismissed the Democrats' decision to introduce an article of impeachment against him as "ridiculous".
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