Former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows filed a lawsuit against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the January 6 committee to try to block subpoenas from the panel, CNN reports.
Meadows’ lawsuit alleges that the committee’s subpoenas to him and another one requesting his phone records from Verizon are “overly broad and unduly burdensome” and that the panel “lacks lawful authority to seek and to obtain” the information.
The lawsuit argues that former President Donald Trump is still litigating whether he can assert executive privilege as a former president after President Joe Biden refused to assert executive privilege over the White House documents sought by the committee.
"As a result, Mr. Meadows, a witness, has been put in the untenable position of choosing between conflicting privilege claims that are of constitutional origin and dimension and having to either risk enforcement of the subpoena issued to him, not merely by the House of Representatives, but through actions by the Executive and Judicial Branches, or, alternatively, unilaterally abandoning the former president's claims of privileges and immunities," the lawsuit says.
The complaint also argues that the Verizon subpoena violates the Constitution and the Stored Communications Act.
“We look forward to litigating that”:
Rep. Liz Cheney, the Republican vice-chair of the committee, told CNN that “we look forward to litigating that.”
"The committee has received a number of extremely interesting, non-privileged documents from Mr. Meadows. These include text messages and emails from his private cell phone and private email account. He's produced these documents, they are not privileged," she said. "They include documents that are directly related to what President Trump should have been doing on January 6 during the attack, and now he is refusing to appear to answer questions about those non-privileged documents."
Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democrat on the panel, said the lawsuit "certainly strikes me as another fruitless effort to impede the work of the committee."
Meadows faces contempt charge:
Meadows, who refused to cooperate with the committee before briefly cooperating with the committee before abruptly reversing and refusing to cooperate with the committee again, faces a potential criminal contempt referral to the Justice Department after refusing to sit down for a deposition.
“We have every intention to move forward with the contempt citation,” said Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson.
Meadows said he reached an agreement to voluntarily appear for a deposition but was “blindsided” by the subpoena to Verizon.
Prior to his reversal, Meadows turned over about 6,000 pages of documents from his personal email account and personal cell phone.
Congress previously referred Steve Bannon to the DOJ, which charged him with two counts of contempt.