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Meadows showing signs of compliance with Capitol attack inquiry

Chairman Thompson says panel will ‘continue to assess’ Meadows’ cooperation after his interview

Former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows will sit for a deposition with the Jan. 6 panel.
Former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows will sit for a deposition with the Jan. 6 panel. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has produced records to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection and plans to appear for a deposition soon, Chairman Bennie Thompson announced Tuesday.

The news of Meadows’ willingness to cooperate, at least for now, with the committee’s inquiry came a day after the panel announced it would move forward with a criminal contempt of Congress resolution regarding Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official who served in the Trump administration. 

“Mr. Meadows has been engaging with the Select Committee through his attorney,” Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, said in a statement. “He has produced records to the committee 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.”

Though it sounds like Meadows is cooperating, Thompson maintained his committee “will continue to assess his degree of compliance with our subpoena after the deposition.”

Clark, who concocted strategies to challenge former President Donald Trump’s 2020 election loss, appeared for his deposition but did not answer questions, CNN reported. The panel is expected to vote Wednesday to recommend that the full House hold Clark in contempt of Congress, a misdemeanor.

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said he expects the chamber to vote on the Clark contempt resolution shortly after the select committee meets.

“Yeah, well, I think we’ll bring it up this week if they act this week,” the Maryland Democrat said at a pen and pad session with reporters Tuesday morning.

Another Trump ally, Stephen Bannon, was indicted on two counts of contempt of Congress earlier this month. Bannon, unlike Clark and Meadows, was not working in the Trump administration in the lead-up to and during the Capitol attack.

Bannon’s counsel told the committee that he could not comply with the congressional subpoena until courts resolve Trump’s claims that executive privilege should block the House inquiry. The privilege attaches to the office of president, however, and President Joe Biden has not tried to block the investigation.

When Bannon was indicted by the Justice Department, Thompson and Vice Chair Liz Cheney, a Wyoming Republican, warned that they were willing to take similar measures to address Meadows’ noncompliance at the time. He had by then missed his deadline to provide documents and testimony to the committee.

“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,” Cheney and Thompson said in a Nov. 12 statement.

Meadows’ lawyer, George Terwilliger III, has argued that Meadows’ testimony is covered by executive privilege claims made by Trump. “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. We appreciate the Select Committee’s openness to receiving voluntary responses on non-privileged topics,” Terwilliger said in a statement.

Jennifer Shutt contributed to this report.

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