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Mark Meadows, former President Donald Trump’s last chief of staff, reportedly did not show up for his Friday deposition, despite threats from the Jan. 6 House select committee’s threats that they would hold him in contempt if he did not comply.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the committee chairman, wrote in a letter to Meadows’ attorney late Thursday that there’s “no valid legal basis” for his client not to comply with the subpoena.
“Simply put, there is no valid legal basis for Mr. Meadows’s continued resistance to the Select Committee’s subpoena. As such, the Select Committee expects Mr. Meadows to produce all responsive documents and appear for deposition testimony tomorrow, November 12, 2021, at 10:00 a.m,” said Thompson’s letter to attorney George Terwilliger, the Daily Mail reported.
Meadows is one of several former Trump advisers and officials who have been subpoenaed by the Democrat-controlled committee as investigates the riot that took place at the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 6.
Thompson’s threat to hold Meadows in contempt comes as the Biden administration’s Office of White House Counsel informed the former chief of staff and North Carolina lawmaker that he could not make any claims of executive privilege to avoid providing testimony.
The Mississippi Democrat also informed Meadows that he is liable to face criminal prosecution if he fails to appear.
‘The Select Committee will view Mr. Meadows’s failure to appear at the deposition, and to produce responsive documents … as willful non-compliance. Such willful noncompliance with the subpoena would force the Select Committee to consider invoking the contempt of Congress procedures, which could result in a referral from the House of Representatives to the Department of Justice for criminal charges,” Thompson wrote.
In addition, the White House has also notified Terwilliger that President Biden intends to waive any executive privilege claims Meadows would make in order to avoid testimony.
“The President believes that the constitutional protections of executive privilege should not be used to shield information reflecting an effort to subvert the Constitution itself, and indeed believes that such an assertion in this circumstance would be at odds with the principles that underlie the privilege,” White House deputy counsel Jonathan Su wrote to Terwilliger.
Biden “has determined that he will not assert executive privilege with respect to your client’s deposition testimony on these subjects, or any documents your client may possess that bear on them,” Su wrote.
“For the same reasons, underlying his decisions on executive privilege, President Biden has determined that he will not assert immunity to preclude your client from testifying before the Select Committee,” the deputy counsel added.
Thompson also noted the White House’s decision to block executive privilege claims, noting that the decision “eviscerates any plausible claim of testimonial immunity or executive privilege, and compels compliance with the Select Committee’s subpoena.”
However, in a statement Thursday, Terwilliger indicated even after receiving Su’s letter that Meadows was prepared to ignore the subpoena while legal disputes over the issue make their way through the courts.
“Contrary to decades of consistent bipartisan opinions from the Justice Department that senior aides cannot be compelled by Congress to give testimony, this is the first president to make no effort whatsoever to protect presidential communications from being the subject of compelled testimony,” Terwilliger noted in a letter of response.
“Mr. Meadows remains under the instruction of former President Trump to respect longstanding principles of executive privilege. It now appears the courts will have to resolve this conflict,” he added.
Trump has ordered all of his former staffers not to cooperate with the committee’s investigation under the principle of protecting executive privilege.
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