Former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows “has been engaging” with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, according to the panel’s chairman — at least temporarily ending talk of holding Meadows in contempt of Congress.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said in a statement Tuesday that Meadows “has produced records to the committee and will soon appear for an initial deposition.
“The Select Committee expects all witnesses, including Mr. Meadows, to provide all information requested and that the Select Committee is lawfully entitled to receive,” Thompson said. “The committee will continue to assess his degree of compliance with our subpoena after the deposition.”
In a letter to Meadows, Thompson justified the subpoena by citing reports that the former North Carolina Congressman “engaged in multiple elements of the planning and preparation of efforts to contest the presidential election and delay the counting of electoral votes.”
Meadows’ lawyer has argued that his client cannot comply with the subpoena while the courts determine whether former President Donald Trump has the right to claim executive privilege over certain records sought by the committee. The Biden White House has said it will not stand in the committee’s way of pursuing the documents.
For its part, the panel has argued that it has questions for Meadows that do not directly involve conversations with Trump and could not fall under executive privilege claims.
Meadows’ lawyer, George Terwilliger, said in a statement Tuesday that he was working with the committee “to see if we can reach an accommodation that does not require Mr. Meadows to waive Executive Privilege or to forfeit the long-standing position that senior White House aides cannot be compelled to testify before Congress,” as Trump has argued.
“We appreciate the Select Committee’s openness to receiving voluntary responses on non-privileged topics,” Terwilliger added.
Also Tuesday, the DC federal appeals court was slated to hear arguments from attorneys representing Trump and the select committee after a federal judge ruled earlier this month that the National Archives could turn over records requested by the panel. Regardless of the appeals court outcome, the case is likely to be appealed to the Supreme Court.
On Wednesday, the select committee is scheduled to hold a contempt vote against former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, who has similarly claimed that his discussions with Trump fall under executive privilege and declined to answer the committee’s questions.
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