After former President Donald Trumps chief of staff Mark Meadows failed to show up for the House Jan. 6 Committee’s deposition, he is being threatened with contempt of Congress charges by the commission’s chairs.

Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) released a joint statement: “Mr. Meadows’s actions today — choosing to defy the law — will force the Select Committee to consider pursuing contempt or other proceedings to enforce the subpoena. If his defiance persists and that process moves ahead, the record will reveal the wide range of matters the Select Committee wished to discuss with Mr. Meadows until his decision to hide behind the former President’s spurious claims of privilege. Many of those matters are not even conceivably subject to any privilege claim, even if there were one.”

Meadows’s attorney George Terwilliger released his own statement: “Our correspondence over the last few weeks shows a sharp legal dispute with the committee. The issues concern whether Mr. Meadows can be compelled to testify and whether, even if he could, that he could be forced to answer questions that involve privileged communications. Legal disputes are appropriately resolved by courts. It would be irresponsible for Mr. Meadows to prematurely resolve that dispute by voluntarily waiving privileges that are at the heart of those legal issues.”

Terwilliger continued: “No matter how important the subject matter of the committee’s work, decades of litigation over Executive Privilege shows how critically important it is for a president to have access to advice and counsel without fear that political opponents in Congress will later be able to pull away the shield of confidentiality that protects candor in those communications.”

Trump has directed his former aides not to cooperate with the House’s investigation.

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