Mark Meadows, former chief of staff to Trump, has agreed to give documents and closed-door testimony for the select committee looking into the attack on the United States Capitol Building on January 6.
Meadows was subpoenaed to provide documents and testify before the commission in September. Meadows seemed to be willing to cooperate at the time of the subpoena. Meadows was not cooperative by the end October. Refusing to testify or to provide the materials that the commission had asked for, justifying his defiance on the basis that Trump’s purported executive privilege limited him from discussing the final weeks of the former president’s tenure in office.
Meadows was unable to cooperate and could have been charged with contempt of Congress. much like Trump’s former adviser Steve Bannon. Rep. Adam Schiff, a member of January 6 Commission (D-California), stated that the panel would soon decide whether they would vote on issuing such charges to MeadowsYou can also find them here.
It’s unclear whether it was the threat of contempt charges that motivated Meadows to become more cooperative. But regardless of why he’s changed his mind, Meadows now appears to be sharing documents with the commission and has agreed to testify.
“Mr. Meadows has been engaging with the Select Committee through his attorney,” a statement from commission chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi) said. “He has produced records to the committee and will soon appear for an initial deposition.”
Thompson warned that Meadows could still be in trouble if he makes another change of heart.
The Select Committee expects all witnesses to provide all information that it is legally entitled to, including Mr. Meadows. After the deposition, we will continue to assess Mr. Meadows’ compliance with our subpoena.
The details surrounding the agreement made between Meadows and the January 6 commission haven’t yet been made public. A statement from Meadows’s lawyer, George Terwilliger, suggested that Meadows isn’t planning to provide all of the information he has access to.
Meadows and his lawyers will “continue to work with the Select Committee and its staff 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,” Terwilliger said.
Trump has asserted that his executive privilege as a former president means that his former aides cannot be compelled to testify if he doesn’t want them to, a position that most legal experts say rests on questionable legal ground. Executive privilege can only be asserted by a sitting president according to the law.
Trump is one example of a former president who can sue to keep records private. But earlier this month, a federal judge ruled that Trump’s assertions of privilege don’t hold up in court.
“[Trump’s] position that he may override the express will of the executive branch appears to be premised on the notion that his executive power ‘exists in perpetuity,’” Judge Tanya S. Chutkan of U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia agreed. “But Presidents are not kings, and Plaintiff is not President. He retains the right to assert that his records are privileged, but the incumbent President ‘is not constitutionally obliged to honor’ that assertion.”
Trump has appealed Chutkan’s order for the National Archives to hand over documents to the commission. On Tuesday, a three-judge panel heard arguments for the appeal. all three of the judges appeared skeptical of the former president’s legal rationaleThis is why documents and communications should remain confidential.
“This all boils down to who decides,” Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson said during those hearings. “Who decides when it is in the best interest of the United States to disclose presidential records? Is it the current occupant of the White House or the former?”