The House on Tuesday voted to refer former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to the Justice Department for refusing to comply with its investigation into the January 6 Capitol riot, The New York Times reports.
The House voted 222 to 208 to recommend the Justice Department hold Meadows in criminal contempt for refusing to turn over documents or sit down for a deposition in the probe.
Two Republicans who sit on the Jan. 6 committee, Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, voted with every Democrat in favor of the referral.
Meadows is the first former member of Congress ever held in contempt by the House. He is the second former Trump aide the House voted to hold in contempt, joining former White House strategist Steve Bannon, who was indicted by a grand jury on two contempt charges.
Case rests on privilege claims:
Former President Donald Trump has sued to block the committee from obtaining White House documents, arguing that he maintains the power to invoke executive privilege even though sitting President Joe Biden refused to invoke privilege over the materials sought by the committee. Courts have thus far rejected Trump’s arguments but the case is likely to reach the Supreme Court.
In the meantime, Trump has demanded his former aides not comply with the investigation. While some have cooperated with the committee regardless, Meadows refused, then agreed, then refused again to comply with the committee.
Meadows argues that courts have not yet determined whether Trump can invoke executive privilege.
“In an investigation like ours, when you produce records, you are expected to come in and answer questions about those records,” Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson said. “But that’s not what he did. He told us the day before his deposition — the same day his book was published — that he would no longer cooperate with our investigation, and that he wasn’t coming in to be interviewed.”
Meadows has filed a lawsuit seeking to block the committee from getting his records.
Meadows turned over damning info:
While Meadows is refusing to cooperate, he already turned over thousands of pages of documents to the committee.
Cheney on Tuesday read aloud text messages that Republicans in Congress sent to Meadows on January 6.
“It’s really bad up here on the hill,” one message said.
“The President needs to stop this asap,” another lawmaker pleaded.
“Fix this now,” said another.
“As the violence was underway on the 6th, it was evident to all, but we know that for 187 minutes, President Trump refused to act,” Cheney said. “And he refused to act when his action was required, it was essential, and it was compelled by his duty, compelled by his oath of office.”