Jan. 6 committee says Meadows knew about threat of violence ahead of riot
(The Hill) – The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol asked a federal judge on Friday to enforce its subpoena of Mark Meadows, revealing new evidence that the former White House chief of staff had been warned of potential violence ahead of the riot.
Meadows has provided some documents to the committee, including text messages from a wide range of Republicans and even Fox News hosts that have since been made public in other actions taken and subpoenas filed by the committee.
But the latest filing asks the courts to reject the former White House chief of staff’s legal challenges to the panel’s authority, outlining seven areas of inquiry where the committee argues Meadows could provide information despite his claims of executive privilege.
The court filing portrays Meadows as a key figure in former President Trump’s efforts to remain in power after losing the 2020 election. The document states that Meadows was involved in these efforts at both the state and national level — plans he continued with despite receiving intelligence there could be violence on Jan. 6.
The exhibits included in the filing also provide new details about the extent Republican lawmakers were involved in former President Trump’s efforts to stay in power.
Those revelations came from testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, a former special assistant to the president and Meadows.
“We had intel reports saying that there could potentially be violence on the 6th,” Hutchinson told the panel.
“And Mr. Meadows said: ‘All right. Let’s talk about it.’”
Hutchinson also laid out a wide array of GOP lawmakers who participated in meetings with Trump campaign lawyers alongside Meadows.
That group includes GOP Reps. Jim Jordan (Ohio), Mo Brooks (Ala.) Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Scott Perry (Pa.) Jody Hice (Ga.), Paul Gosar (Ariz.) and Debbie Lesko (Ariz.).
“They felt that he had the authority to — pardon me if my phrasing isn’t correct on this, but — send votes back to the States or the electors back to the States, more along the lines of the Eastman theory,” Hutchinson said, referring to John Eastman, who crafted two memos for the Trump campaign outlining how to challenge the election.
“I don’t recall anybody speaking out and definitively expressing disagreement with that theory,” she said of the lawmakers, adding that “the vice president’s team appeared slightly skeptical.”
While Meadows has passed along 2,319 of his text messages to the committee, he has withheld 1,000.
The committee outlines a number of arguments to push back on Meadows’ claims of executive privilege, arguing that much of his work went beyond communication with other White House staffers.
In other cases they say the information he could provide meets standards that require disclosure when Congress can demonstrate a “profound” and “uniquely compelling” interest.
The filing likewise seeks to confront Meadow’s effort to block Verizon from complying with a separate committee subpoena for remaining phone records.
“Mr. Meadows participated, as a functionary of the Trump campaign, in activities intended to result in actions by state officials and legislatures to change the certified results of the election,” the committee wrote in its filing, pointing to Trump’s now-famous call in which the former president asked the Georgia Secretary of State to “find” more votes.
“In addition, Mr. Meadows communicated repeatedly by text with Congressman Scott Perry regarding a plan to replace Department of Justice leadership in the days before Jan. 6,” it adds.
The committee also says testimony with numerous White House staff indicates Meadows continued with efforts to keep Trump in power despite indications from White House counsel that such plans were illegal.
“The Select Committee now has testimony from other White House staff that Mr. Meadows and certain congressmen were advised by White House Counsel that efforts to generate false certificates did not comply with the law,” the committee states.
According to Hutchinson, that issue was raised by White House lawyers as early as mid-December, agreeing counsel had advised the plan was “not legally sound.”
“Certain text communications with Members of Congress suggest that Mr. Meadows himself ‘pushed’ for Vice President Pence to take unilateral action to reject the counting of electoral votes on Jan. 6th,” the committee said in its filing.
The filing from the committee comes well after a December vote to refer Meadows to the Department of Justice for contempt of Congress — a charge the DOJ has not yet acted on, despite accepting a similar referral for one-time White House strategist Steve Bannon.
While Meadows was slated to appear before the committee’s investigators on Dec. 8, he informed them Dec. 7 he would no longer be coming, instead filing a lawsuit challenging its subpoena for his testimony.
“The Select Committee’s filing today urges the Court to reject Mark Meadows’s baseless claims and put an end to his obstruction of our investigation. Mr. Meadows is hiding behind broad claims of executive privilege even though much of the information we’re seeking couldn’t possibly be covered by privilege and courts have rejected similar claims because the committee’s interest in getting to the truth is so compelling,” committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said in a joint statement.
“It’s essential that the American people fully understand Mr. Meadows’s role in events before, on, and after January 6th. His attempt to use the courts to cover up that information must come to an end.”
Meadow’s attorney did not immediately respond to request for comment.