According to a letter from House Select Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows must appear in person for a deposition and hand over documents on Friday or face criminal contempt charges.
According to a copy acquired by WOTHAPPEN, President Joe Biden will not claim executive privilege or immunity over documents and testimony demanded by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. There will be no further cooperation with the committee until the courts rule on former President Donald Trump’s claim of executive privilege, which prompted them to set a deadline for Meadows’ final compliance.
If Meadows does not meet the Friday deadline, the committee will take its first move in referring him to the Department of Justice for contempt of Congress.
On Monday, the Select Committee on Oversight and Government Reform issued a statement saying that it will see Rep. Meadows’s failure at the deposition, as well as his refusal to disclose responsive documents or a log of privilege claims, as deliberate noncompliance. If Mr. Meadows continues to refuse to appear as ordered, the Select Committee may consider invoking the contempt of Congress procedures outlined in 2 U.S.C. 192, 194, which could lead to criminal charges being brought against him by the House of Representatives and/or civil action to enforce the subpoena in his individual capacity.
In a letter to Meadows’ lawyer earlier this week, White House Deputy Counsel Jonathan Su cited “the exceptional and extraordinary circumstances where Congress is investigating an effort to block the lawful transition of power under our Constitution” as the reason for Biden’s decision to back down.
According to Su, Vice President Biden has already determined that executive privilege does not apply to certain subjects within the committee’s purview, such as “events within the White House on or about January 6, 2021; attempts to use a false narrative that the 2020 election was tainted by widespread fraud; and other efforts to alter election results or obstruct the transfer of power.”
Su’s letter was first reported by the Washington Post.
“The Justice Department’s decades-long bipartisan opinion that senior advisers cannot be compelled by Congress to testify has been ignored by this President, who has made no attempt to protect presidential communications from compelled testimony. In the wake of the Trump presidency, outgoing White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has instructed Mr. Meadows to adhere to traditional executive privilege rules. It now appears that the courts will be called upon to settle this matter “In a statement, Terwilliger said CNN.
In response to CNN’s story that members of the House select committee are losing patience with the pace of conversations with Meadows, Su wrote a letter in which he urged the committee to use more forceful actions to force his cooperation in the sweeping investigation.
A White House official told CNN on Thursday that Terwilliger is “wrong on both the facts and the law” and pushed back hard against his statements.
“Mark Meadows hardly has claim to complain about norms and traditions; Meadows participated in an effort to subvert the Constitution and overturn a presidential election, including by pressuring state elections officials to alter election results and by personally attempting to coerce the Department of Justice into investigating absurd conspiracy theories,” the official said.
While he has been “engaged” in negotiations since being summoned in September by the committee, Meadows is still refusing to give over papers or appear for deposition.
However, weeks after the committee granted Meadows a “indefinite” but “brief” deferral of the initial subpoena date, members are growing increasingly agitated and have been pondering when and how to increase the pressure.
Meadows could face criminal contempt for failing to comply with the committee’s subpoena if he doesn’t comply by the revised deadline set by the committee or if he refuses to do so. It was evident from the beginning that Bannon would not cooperate with the panel, and now risks probable punishment for violating his subpoena.
On Tuesday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee subpoenaed two former White House officials who worked closely with Meadows in an effort to learn more about his efforts to communicate with others relevant to the investigation, including election officials in Georgia, organizers of January 6 events, and high-level officials at the Justice Department.