“The Select Committee has no choice but to advance contempt proceedings and recommend that the body in which Meadows once served refer him for criminal prosecution,” committee chair Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, wrote in a letter. dated December 7.
The letter also reveals new details about previous correspondence between the two parties and shares for the first time in greater detail what information Meadows voluntarily provided to the committee.
Prior to Meadows’ decision to stop cooperation with the committee, it had delivered approximately 6,000 pages of documents to the panel. Among those pages, Thompson reveals that Meadows provided the committee with significant information from both his personal email account and personal cell phone that are relevant to the committee’s investigation.
In a November 6, 2020, text exchange with a member of Congress, Meadows reportedly said “I love it” in a discussion about naming alternate electors in certain states, and the member acknowledged that the plan would be “very controversial.” .
Thompson shares that the tranche of documents Meadows delivered included an email from January 5, 2021 that had a 38-page PowerPoint briefing titled “Voter Fraud, Foreign Interference, and Options for January 6” to be provided “at the hill”; an email dated November 7, 2020 discussing the appointment of alternative voter lists as part of a “direct and collateral attack” after the elections; and an email from January 5, 2021 about having the National Guard on hold.
The committee also has in its possession a text exchange between Meadows and an organizer of the January 6 rally from early January 2021, and text messages about the need for Trump to issue some kind of public statement to stop the attack. January 6 at the Capitol. .
With emails and text messages from personal accounts provided to the committee, Thompson said that Meadows also included a privilege record indicating that it withheld several hundred additional emails and more than 1,000 text messages “based on executive complaints. , attorney-client or other privilege. “
“All of these documents raise issues that the Select Committee would like to question Mr. Meadows on and on which you appear to agree are not subject to a claim of privilege,” Thompson wrote in the letter informing Meadows that the committee would pursue criminal contempt. proceedings against you.
Thompson also raises the question that since many of the emails and text messages Meadows provided come from his personal accounts, whether “these materials have been transferred to the National Archives in accordance with the Presidential Records Act.”
At the heart of the aftermath between Meadows and the committee is a disagreement over what executive privilege covers.
“We now have every indication from the information that was provided to us last Friday, on which Mr. Meadows could expect to be questioned, that the Select Committee does not intend to abide by the limits related to Executive Privilege,” he said. Meadows’ attorney, George J. Terwilliger. II stated in a letter to the committee stating that Meadows would no longer cooperate.
In his letter responding to Meadows and his attorney, Thompson doesn’t see it that way.
“In fact, the Select Committee has repeatedly tried to specifically identify the areas of investigation that Mr. Meadows believes are protected by an executive privilege claim, but neither you nor Mr. Meadows have provided that information in a meaningful way.” Thompson wrote.
Thompson responded to this complaint by saying, “Contrary to your claim, that information does not imply privilege, but rather refers to the date, time, and dialing information about calls and messages sent or received by the specific phone numbers indicated in the subpoena.” .
Ultimately, Thompson rejected an assertion by Meadows ‘attorney that previous comments made by the president suggest “that a witness’s assertion of Fifth Amendment rights is’ tantamount to an admission of guilt.”
“That is not an accurate characterization of my position on the Fifth Amendment, nor is the interpretation of my comments consistent with our discussions of the purpose of tomorrow’s deposition, that is, a procedure in which your client can assert claims of privilege with enough particularity for further consideration, “Thompson wrote Wednesday.
While Meadows has not indicated that it will claim Fifth Amendment protections, several witnesses cited by the committee, including Trump ally Roger Stone and former DOJ official Jeffrey Clark, have said they intend to do so.
Meadows was first cited by the committee on September 23. On November 12, Meadows did not appear for a deposition, but on November 22, the committee gave Meadows another opportunity to begin cooperating with the committee by submitting documents and scheduling a new deposition. to which Meadows agreed. But, the day before the scheduled deposition, Meadows, through his attorney, informed the committee that he would not appear for the deposition scheduled for December 8 and that he would no longer cooperate with the committee.
This story has been updated with additional news on Wednesday.