Jan. 6 Committee Recommends Criminal Contempt Of Congress Charge For Mark Meadows
The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot on the U.S. Capitol has unanimously recommended that Mark Meadows, former chief of staff under President Donald Trump, be charged with criminal contempt of Congress. Meadows claimed that the committee was pressuring him to reveal information protected by executive privilege. Last week, days after promising to cooperate with the panel’s investigation, Meadows withdrew his cooperation and thereby violated Congress’s subpoena. On Monday evening, the committee voted 9 to 0 to recommend Meadows be charged with criminal contempt. The penalty for this misdemeanor offense can be up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
Prior to withdrawing his cooperation, Meadows had already provided about 9,000 documents for the investigation, which included text conversations and emails from the day of the insurrection. The documents show that Meadows was deeply involved in the Jan. 6 insurrection and in the attempts to undermine the 2020 election.
Among the documents are text messages between Meadows, Donald Trump Jr., Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Brian Kilmeade, on the day of the insurrection. The president’s son and the Fox News hosts emphasized the need for Trump to condemn the insurrection and implored Meadows to convince the president.
“Hey Mark, the president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home,” read one text from Ingraham. “He is destroying his legacy.”
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“Please get him on tv,” read another text to Meadows, from Kilmeade. “Destroying everything you have accomplished.”
The panel’s vice chairwoman, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming), presented the texts to the bipartisan committee. “These text messages leave no doubt,” she said. “The White House knew exactly what was happening here at the Capitol.”
“How did Meadows react to these cries for help?” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-California) asked the panel. “Whom did he tell? What did he do? And, critically, what did the president of the U.S. do and what did he fail to do?”
About two hours after the breach of the Capitol, President Trump released a video in which he expressed support for the insurrectionists and affirmed the fraudulence of the election, but requested that the insurrectionists return home.
“This was a fraudulent election, but we can’t play into the hands of these people,” said Trump. “We love you. You’re very special.”
Further documents show that Meadows was instrumental in the Jan. 6 rally and in advancing claims of election interference. He coordinated with the organizers of the insurrection, one of whom texted him during the event, “I desperately need some direction. Please.” Meadows also promised to assemble the National Guard to protect the protesters.
Meadows also encouraged members of Congress to protest the victory of President Joe Biden, pursued groundless allegations of election fraud in six states and appeared to encourage lawmakers to send alternate electors to overturn Biden’s victory.
The committee seeks more information about Meadows’s involvement in the insurrection and in the undermining of the election, and Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi), calls the former Congressman’s lack of cooperation “jarring.”
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