Mark Meadows abruptly stops cooperating with the January 6 select committee

·3 min read
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows talks with supporters before President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Keith House, Washington's Headquarters, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020, in Newtown, Pa.
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows talks with supporters before President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Keith House, Washington's Headquarters, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020, in Newtown, Pa.AP Photo/Chris Szagola
  • Mark Meadows is no longer cooperating with the January 6 select committee.

  • The committee is seeking testimony and records from the former Trump chief of staff.

  • Meadows' lawyer said a deposition would be "untenable" because of executive privilege concerns.

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has stopped cooperating with the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, his attorney announced Tuesday morning on Fox News.

The sudden reversal comes just a week after committee Chair Rep. Bennie Thompson announced that the panel had brokered an agreement for Meadows, who served as former President Donald Trump's fourth and final chief of staff, to hand over requested documents and sit for a deposition.

But in a Tuesday morning letter to the committee, Meadows attorney George Terwilliger said a deposition was "untenable" because the panel "has no intention of respecting boundaries" over information and details that Meadows' team claims are protected by executive privilege. The Biden White House has so far declined to exert executive privilege over documents sought by the committee, including those involving Meadows.

Meadows played a powerful role in Trump's efforts to subvert and overturn his 2020 election loss that is of high interest to the committee's investigation.

Emails obtained in previous congressional investigations show Meadows aggressively pressuring top officials at the Department of Justice to investigate unfounded allegations of election fraud, from purported signature irregularities on absentee ballots in Georgia to a bizarre conspiracy theory that Italy hacked voting machines with satellites.

The apparent halt of Meadows' cooperation also coincides with the release of his memoir "The Chief's Chief" where Meadows recounts his time as Trump's chief of staff, continues to lend credence to the lie that voter fraud caused Trump's 2020 election loss, and recalls the day of the January 6 insurrection.

At least one lawmaker on the committee has argued that Meadows voluntarily discussing the January 6 insurrection and the events leading up to it in his book significantly undercuts his ability to convincingly argue that such details are protected under executive privilege and should be off-limits to the committee.

"It's … very possible that by discussing the events of Jan. 6 in his book, if he does that, he's waiving any claim of privilege. So, it'd be very difficult for him to maintain 'I can't speak about events to you, but I can speak about them in my book,'" Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff previously told Politico.

If Meadows continues to refuse to cooperate, he could risk being held in contempt of Congress. The House voted to hold former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, another highly-sought witness by the committee, in contempt of Congress after Bannon refused to comply with the committee's subpoenas. A federal grand jury then indicted Bannon on two counts of contempt of Congress to which Bannon pleaded not guilty.

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