Update (Dec. 9, 2021): A day after former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows sued the House committee investigating January’s Capitol riots, a federal appeals court ruled against former President Donald Trump Thursday. Former President Trump was trying to shield documents from the committee.
In its ruling, the court said there was a “unique legislative need” for the documents. The injunction that has prevented the National Archives from turning over the documents will expire in two weeks or when the Supreme Court rules on an expected appeal from Trump — whichever happens second.
Meanwhile, Wednesday’s Meadows lawsuit asks a judge to invalidate two subpoenas that he says are “overly broad and unduly burdensome.” Meadows is accusing the committee of overreaching by issuing a subpoena to Verizon for his cell phone records.
“Without intervention by this Court, Mr. Meadows faces the harm of both being illegally coerced into violating the Constitution and having a third party involuntarily violate Mr. Meadows rights and the requirements of relevant laws governing records of electronic communications,” the lawsuit states. “Allowing an entirely partisan select committee of Congress to subpoena the personal cell phone data of executive officials would work a massive chilling of current and future Executive Branch officials’ associational and free speech rights.”
Update (Dec. 8, 2021): Former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows failed to appear for a scheduled deposition with the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riots Wednesday, leaving the committee with “no choice” but to pursue contempt charges against Meadows. In a letter to Meadows’ lawyer, committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) noted Meadows released a book this week discussing the riots.
“That he would sell his telling of the facts of that day while denying a congressional committee the opportunity to ask him about the attack on our Capitol marks an historic and aggressive defiance of Congress,” Thompson said in the letter.
Update (Dec. 7, 2021): A week after an appeals court heard arguments on whether or not to allow the release of documents related to January’s Capitol riots to the House committee investigating January 6, former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows reversed course on his decision to cooperate with the committee. In a Tuesday letter, his lawyer George Terwilliger said the committee “has no intention of respecting boundaries” concerning questions that former President Donald Trump has claimed executive privilege on. In addition, Terwilliger said he had learned the committee had issued a subpoena to a third-party communications provider he said would include “intensely personal” information.
“As a result of careful and deliberate consideration of these factors, we now must decline the opportunity to appear voluntarily for a deposition,” Terwilliger wrote.
Original Story (Nov. 30, 2021): An appeals court heard arguments on whether or not to allow the release of documents related to January’s Capitol riots to the House committee investigating the riots Tuesday and former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows announced he will cooperate with the committee. According to committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Meadows has produced records and will soon appear for an initial deposition.
“The Select Committee expects all witnesses, including Mr. Meadows, to provide all information requested and that the Select Committee is lawfully entitled to receive,” Rep. Thompson said in a Tuesday statement. “The committee will continue to assess his degree of compliance with our subpoena after the deposition.”
Under the tentative agreement, Meadows could potentially decline to answer the panel’s questions about his most sensitive conversations with Trump and what Trump was doing on Jan. 6.
“As we have from the beginning, we 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,” Meadows lawyer George Terwilliger said in a statement, according to a tweet from CBS News Senior Investigative Correspondent Catherine Herridge. “We appreciate the select committee’s openness to receiving voluntary responses on non-privileged topics.”
With Tuesday’s announcement, Meadows may avoid a fate similar to former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, who was indicted on two counts of criminal contempt earlier this month. On Monday, the committee said it would hold a vote Wednesday night on whether to recommend contempt charges for former Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Clark.
The Meadows announcement comes as the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit focused on what role federal courts should have when an incumbent president and former president are at odds over records from the former’s administration. The judges sharply questioned both sides and challenged them with hypothetical scenarios.
To Trump’s lawyers, Judge Patricia Millett suggested a situation where a current president negotiating with a foreign leader needed to know what promises a former president had made to that leader. To a lawyer for the House committee, Millett raised a scenario where a newly elected president might seek retribution against a disliked predecessor.