What's Behind House 6 January Select Committee's 'Manhunt' for Meadows, Bannon, & Other Trump Aides?
14:01 GMT 15.12.2021 (Updated: 17:08 GMT 15.12.2021)
House Democrats' attempt to hold the ex-White House chief of staff in contempt is yet another demonstration of partisan hatred towards former President Donald Trump and his supporters, says American attorney Marc Little, explaining why "executive privilege" concerning the ex-president's communications must be observed.
The House of Representatives on 14 December voted 222-208 to hold former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in contempt of the US Congress. A day earlier the House Select Committee on the January 6th Attack recommended Meadows for prosecution after he refused to testify before the panel. The only two Republicans on the committee's panel - Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois – supported their Democratic peers.
Before halting his cooperation with the committee, Meadows turned over a trove of roughly 9,000 documents to the House inquiry, according to The New York Times. For its part, CNN drew attention to the trove having been handed over "without any claim of executive privilege" and contained text messages and emails the former chief of staff was "exchanging with a wide range of individuals" amid the 6 January siege of the Capitol.
Executive Privilege Preserves Principle of Separation of Power
"The committee is on a witch hunt as it pursues former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows who cooperated with the committee (perhaps foolishly), turned over 6,000 documents in response to the committee's subpoena, and has now decided to draw the line on cooperating – and rightfully so", says California-based attorney Marc Little.
Little argues that along with Steve Bannon and Jeffrey Clark, "Meadows must protect his communications with the Office of the Presidency which are subject to executive privilege". Executive privilege is the power of the president and other officials in the executive branch to withhold certain forms of confidential communication from the courts and the legislative branch.
"If an over-zealous political party can destroy the wall that preserves the separation of power between co-equal branches of government, the integrity of Articles I and II under the US Constitution will forever be compromised", insists the attorney.
In mid-November, former aide to Donald Trump Steve Bannon surrendered to law enforcement being indicted on two counts of contempt of Congress. Bannon's attorney David Schoen explained to CNN's
Brianna Keilar on 16 November why the defendant chose not to appear before the January 6th Committee and not to produce documents. According to Schoen, Bannon asked the committee to allow a representative of a privilege holder to be present
and invoke "executive privilege" on a question by question basis. However, the committee rejected his request.
22 November 2021, 05:30 GMT
Why House Select Committee on 6 January Attack is 'Partisan Stunt'
The ongoing investigation by the House Select Committee resembles nothing so much as an effort to crack down on former President Donald Trump's supporters, according to the lawyer.
"The work of the committee is not about an attack on our democracy; rather, it is only about partisan hatred for former President Donald Trump, his possible candidacy in 2024, and therefore, must be seen and treated as a sham since the FBI investigation concluded the attack on the US Capitol was uncoordinated and that there was no evidence involving former President Trump", Little stresses, adding that the attempts to compare the Capitol protests to the terror attack of 9/11 on the US are highly inappropriate.
Earlier this year, Senate Republicans blocked the creation of the Democratic-backed 6 January Commission to look into the Capitol siege as a "partisan stunt" that duplicated law enforcement and congressional efforts underway.
After that the Democratic Party announced the creation of a House Select Committee to investigate the 6 January riots in DC. However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi barred Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's picks for the panel and tapped two Republican representatives known as outspoken critics of Donald Trump and the MAGA movement. In July 2021, the House GOP leader denounced the Democratic-dominated committee's probe as a "sham process"
11 October 2021, 16:00 GMT
"All we need to know about the legitimacy of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol are the words of Speaker Nancy Pelosi on 17 February 2011", Little says. "On that day, 100,000 rioters occupied the Wisconsin State Capitol to oppose Republican Governor Scott Walker's bill to end collective bargaining for public workers – gutting the power of the unions – a reliable Democrat fundraising machine".
Pelosi expressed support for the rioters and called the protests "an impressive show of democracy in action", the lawyer notes. According to him, given that she hailed a 100,000 mob back in 2011, "her protest and Articles of Impeachment related to the January 6th events at the Capitol must be seen as purely political and lack credibility".
Similarly, the Democrats remained largely silent about the breach of the US Department of the Interior earlier this year by environmental extremists, Little points out. In October 2021, climate change protesters stormed the building of the Department of the Interior and occupied a space inside it for hours. Washington Post reporter Ellie Silverman shared a video of climate rioters climbing into the building despite attempts by police to block the entrance.
"The five-year attack against one man, Donald Trump, is the sole concern of the vast subpoenas issued by this committee and not the true victims of our failing constitutional republic, like the deceased and unarmed Ashli Bobbitt and the citizens being held in the bowels of the DC jailhouse without due process and endure abuse for being on the Capitol grounds on January 6th in a country that boasts of the rule of law", the California-based attorney concludes.