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Trump chief of staff Meadows could face contempt charge if he no-shows Jan. 6 committee

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Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows could become the latest official from former President Donald Trump's administration to face criminal contempt charges after his attorney said Tuesday he would not cooperate with the Jan. 6 committee.

Committee leaders said thepanel will pursue contempt charges against Meadows, as it has for two others, if Meadows does not show up for his scheduled deposition on Wednesday.

The statement from chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and vice chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., came after Meadows' attorney sent a letter to the committee to say his client would not cooperate.

More: Bannon will be held in contempt. What does that mean, and what powers does Congress have?

In the letter, attorney Geroge Terwilliger wrote Meadows "is precluded from making a unilateral decision to waive Executive Privilege claims asserted by the former president." But he left open the possibility that Meadows could answer written questions.

In November, Terwilliger, said his client wouldn't cooperate until courts ruled on Trump's executive privilege claims. But late last month, Thompson said Meadows had provided documents and soon would sit for a deposition with the committee.

Terwilliger said in the letter that Meadows had agreed to provide "thousands of pages of responsive documents" to the committee and was willing to testify on "non-privileged matters." But new information from the committee indicated "that the Select Committee has no intention of respecting boundaries concerning executive privilege," he wrote.

He also revealed the committee had issued subpoenas to Meadows' communications provider.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows speaks on a phone on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, on Oct. 30, 2020.
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows speaks on a phone on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, on Oct. 30, 2020.

Thompson and Cheney said in a joint statement the committee has "numerous questions" for Meadows about documents he already has provided without any claim of executive privilege and about "official records" from his phone and email account that were to be filed with the National Archives.

Several former administration officials and campaign advisers also have refused to cooperate with the committee's investigation.

Trump is fighting a subpoena for administration records. So far, only former Trump political strategist Steve Bannon has faced criminal charges over his refusal to cooperate. He was charged with criminal contempt after ignoring a subpoena. The committee also has asked the Justice Department to charge former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark with contempt.

The committee's subpoena seeks communications between Meadows and Trump on Jan. 6 and between Meadows and the organizers of a rally where the president spoke before the attack on the Capitol.

It also is after information about Meadows' contact with the Justice Department and state officials to ask for investigations into election fraud. Courts dismissed more than 60 election lawsuits over lack of standing or merit.

Contributing: Bart Jansen

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Mark Meadows reverses again, won't cooperate with Jan. 6 committee

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