January 6 Committee Votes to Hold Mark Meadows in Contempt of Congress

Then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speaks to reporters following a television interview, outside the White House in Washington, D.C., October 21, 2020.
(Al Drago/Reuters)

The House Select Committee on the January 6 Capitol riot recommended that former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows be held in criminal contempt of Congress, over his refusal to comply with a committee subpoena.

The committee voted 9–0 to refer a resolution to the House to hold Meadows, a former House member from North Carolina, in criminal contempt.

“This is his legacy now,” committee chairman Bennie Thompson (D., Miss.) said before the vote. “His former colleagues singling him out for criminal prosecution because he wouldn’t answer questions about what he knows about a brutal attack on our democracy. That’s his legacy.”

Meadows previously sued committee members and House speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) to block enforcement of a committee subpoena against him and another subpoena to Verizon for phone records. Meadows’s attorneys claimed the former chief of staff was bound by former president Trump’s assertion of executive privilege over records sought by the committee.

However, in a separate lawsuit, a three-judge panel for the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Trump’s claim of executive privilege over those records on Friday. While the court put a 14-day hold on the release of documents in order to give Trump’s attorneys time to file an appeal, the January 6 committee indicated after the ruling that it would consider a motion to hold Meadows in criminal contempt.

Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon was indicted for criminal contempt of Congress in November, after defying a subpoena by the January 6 committee.

The select committee was formed to investigate the Capitol riot, during which supporters of the former president breached the Capitol, forcing lawmakers to interrupt the certification of the Electoral College results.

However, Pelosi refused to appoint two lawmakers recommend by House minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) to the panel, leading McCarthy and most Republicans to withhold cooperation with the committee. Representatives Liz Cheney (R., Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (R., Ill.), both staunch critics of President Trump in relation to the events of January 6, are the only Republicans on the nine-member committee.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.