CNN, POOL, SENATE TV, CISCO
By Gloria Borger, Zachary Cohen and Annie Grayer, CNN
Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows will no longer cooperate with the House select committee investigating January 6 insurrection, according to a letter from his attorney to the panel, which was obtained by CNN on Tuesday.
“We agreed to provide thousands of pages of responsive documents and Mr. Meadows was willing to appear voluntarily, not under compulsion of the Select Committee’s subpoena to him, for a deposition to answer questions about non-privileged matters. Now actions by the Select Committee have made such an appearance untenable,” the letter from George J. Terwilliger II stated.
“In short, we now have every indication from the information supplied to us last Friday – upon which Mr. Meadows could expect to be questioned — that the Select Committee has no intention of respecting boundaries concerning Executive Privilege,” Terwilliger added.
The committee said later Tuesday it will move forward with a scheduled deposition with Meadows on Wednesday even though he said he no longer plans to cooperate.
By going forward with the scheduled deposition, the committee is setting up a path to hold Meadows in criminal contempt.
“Tomorrow’s deposition, which was scheduled at Mr. Meadows’s request, will go forward as planned. If indeed Mr. Meadows refuses to appear, the Select Committee will be left no choice but to advance contempt proceedings and recommend that the body in which Mr. Meadows once served refer him for criminal prosecution,” Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi and GOP Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who lead the committee, said in a joint statement.
Responding to the letter from Meadows’ attorney, the committee made clear it needs to hear from the former White House chief of staff “about voluminous official records stored in his personal phone and email accounts, which were required to be turned over to the National Archives in accordance with the Presidential Records Act. “
A source familiar with the matter told CNN that among the 6,000 pages of documents Meadows has already provided to the committee are communications from January 6. It is still unclear who communicated that day with Meadows but the source said “many people had Meadows’ cell phone.”
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat and member of the committee, said on CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper that the records including “volumes of material, including real time communication as the riot unfolded. Lofgren said the messages were shared “without an assertion of privilege,” and criticized Meadows for then reversing his cooperation.
“The committee wants to ask him about some of that, and it’s really untenable that all of a sudden at the last minute he’s saying no. That somehow there’s some reason why he can’t talk about this,” Lofgren said.
CNN first reported last week that Meadows had begun cooperating with the committee, handing over thousands of documents and agreeing to appear for an interview this week.
Meadows’ about-face is due in part to learning over the weekend that the committee had “issued wide ranging subpoenas for information from a third party communications provider,” the letter notes.
“As a result of careful and deliberate consideration of these factors, we now must decline the opportunity to appear voluntarily for a deposition,” Terwilliger writes.
Terwilliger writes that Meadows would answer written questions “so that there might be both an orderly process and a clear record of questions and related assertions of privilege where appropriate.”
Responding to Meadows’ claim that the committee was ignoring his claims of executive privilege, Thompson and Cheney state that Meadows was willing to discuss details about Trump in his new book.
“Mark Meadows has informed the Select Committee that he does not intend to cooperate further with our investigation despite his apparent willingness to provide details about the facts and circumstances surrounding the January 6th attack, including conversations with President Trump, in the book he is now promoting and selling,” they write.
The pair add that they have “numerous questions” for Meadows that have nothing to do with executive privilege.
This story has been updated with additional developments Tuesday.
™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.