2 Republicans joined with House Democrats to hold Mark Meadows, Trump's former chief of staff, in criminal contempt of Congress
- The House voted to hold Meadows in contempt for defying a subpoena from the January 6 committee.
- Two Republicans on Tuesday joined every Democrat to refer this case to the Department of Justice.
The House of Representatives voted on Tuesday to hold former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in criminal contempt of Congress after he defied a subpoena from the House Select Committee investigating January 6.
The full House vote came after the committee voted unanimously on Monday to refer Meadows to the Department of Justice, which will now weigh potential criminal charges against the one-time chair of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.
The tally was 222 to 208. These are the two House Republicans who voted with their colleagues across the aisle to hold Meadows in contempt:
- Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming
- Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois
Meadows is the second person to be held in criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a congressional subpoena from the January 6 committee. In October, nine Republicans broke ranks and voted to refer Steve Bannon to the DOJ. The one-time White House chief strategist ultimately surrendered to the FBI on November 15 before pleading not guilty two days later.
The committee has also voted to hold Jeffrey Clark, a high-level DOJ official under former President Donald Trump, in contempt of Congress for his refusal to cooperate with the committee. But a full House vote holding him in contempt has been stalled by his intention to claim his 5th Amendment rights in a deposition scheduled for December 16.
'He has to lead now. It has gone too far.'
Tuesday's vote follows the release of a 51-page document by the House committee on Monday, which included the resolution recommending to find Meadows in contempt of Congress.
The document included new revelations, including that Meadows wrote in an email that the National Guard was on standby to "protect pro Trump people" and that he used his own cellphone, two personal Gmail accounts, and the encrypted app Signal to conduct government business.
During a committee hearing on Monday evening, Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming also revealed texts — sent by Trump family members, Fox News hosts, administration officials, members of Congress, and reporters — that called on Meadows to get former President Donald Trump to call off the rioters.
—Manu Raju (@mkraju) December 14, 2021
"He's got to condemn this [shit] ASAP. The Capitol Police tweet is not enough," Donald Trump Jr. texted Meadows, per Cheney, who is the vice chair of the panel.
"I'm pushing it hard. I agree," Meadows wrote back in a text.
Trump Jr. continued to text Meadows to get Trump to respond to the riot, writing: "We need an Oval Office address. He has to lead now. It has gone too far and gotten out of hand."
'No intention of respecting boundaries'
At the center of Meadows' refusal to comply with the committee's subpoena is his claim that he's shielded by Trump's assertion of executive privilege or his right to keep the information confidential. Trump's lawyer had previously advised the president's former aides, including Meadows, to defy the subpoena, on the same grounds.
The former North Carolina congressman briefly cooperated with the committee, turning over documents, including the texts that the panel revealed on Monday. But that ended last week when Meadows sent a letter to the committee through his lawyer, accusing the group of having "no intention of respecting boundaries concerning Executive Privilege."
The contempt vote came after Meadows failed to provide additional documents and to appear for scheduled testimony before the committee to answer questions about what happened on January 6.
"We believe Mr. Meadows is improperly asserting executive and other privileges," Cheney said on Monday. "He is in contempt of Congress."
Also last week, a federal appeals court rejected Trump's bid to block the committee from obtaining executive branch documents for its investigation into the riot. Trump asserted executive privilege over the documents, but President Joe Biden didn't uphold the request, authorizing the National Archives and Records Administration to hand over the materials to Congress. Trump responded by suing Congress and the National Archives to keep the files confidential.
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