Mark Meadows blasts Jan. 6 panel after contempt vote

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Mark Meadows blasts Jan. 6 panel after contempt vote

Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows decried what he called “selective leaks” from the Jan. 6 House select committee Monday night after the panel voted unanimously to recommend that he be held in contempt of Congress.

“It’s disappointing, but not surprising,” Meadows told ​Fox News’ ​Sean Hannity shortly after the committee’s 9-0 vote, which came in response to the former chief of staff ending his work with the panel and refusing to sit for a scheduled deposition last week.

“Let’s be clear about this, this is not about me, holding me in contempt,” Meadows claimed. “It’s not even about making the Capitol safer. We’ve seen that by the selective leaks that are going on right now. This is about Donald Trump and about actually going after him once again​.”

The full House is expected to vote later Tuesday on whether to hold Meadows in contempt and refer the committee’s report to the Justice Department for potential prosecution — which Meadows acknowledged had “a very high probability” of happening.

Meadows, the fourth and last person to hold the role of White House chief of staff under Trump, had turned over thousands of pages of emails and texts to the committee before his lawyer abruptly announced that Meadows would no longer communicate with the panel while the courts work through Trump’s claim of executive privilege.

House select committee.
Mark Meadows had turned over thousands of pages of emails and texts to the committee before his lawyer abruptly announced that Meadows would no longer communicate with the panel.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

On the same day as his scheduled deposition, Meadows filed a lawsuit against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the committee’s nine members, and the panel as a whole calling the subpoenas against him “overly broad and unduly burdensome”.

“I have tried to share non-privileged information,” Meadows told Hannity Monday night, “but truly, the executive privilege that Donald Trump has claimed is not mine to waive, it’s not Congress’ to waive and that’s why we filed the lawsuit to hopefully get the courts to weigh in – hopefully they will weigh in​.”

Late Sunday, the committee, which is chaired by Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), released a 51-page report detailing questions its members would have asked Meadows about his communications with White House officials and other lawmakers during the Capitol riot. 

Donald Trump.
“This is about Donald Trump and about actually going after him once again​,” Mark Meadows claimed of the select committee’s decision.
Evan Vucci/AP

Before Monday night’s vote, committee vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) read out texts Meadows received as the violence was unfolding. ​

One came from the president’s eldest son, Don Jr., who told Meadows of his father: “He’s got to condemn this [s—] ASAP. The Capitol Police tweet is not enough.”

According to Cheney, Meadows answered: “I’m pushing it hard. I agree.”

Capitol riot.
Mark Meadows received multiple text messages urging him to tell then-President Donald Trump to condemn the Capitol riot, including from son Donald Trump Jr. and Fox News host Laura Ingraham.
Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

Throughout the day, Cheney said, Don Jr. texted Meadows “again and again, urging action by the president.”

​”​We need an Oval Office address,” Trump Jr. messaged at one point. “He has to lead now. It has gone too far and gotten out of hand.” 

During her remarks, Cheney also read texts from prominent Fox hosts — including Hannity himself — to Meadows.

​”‘Can he make a statement? Ask people to leave the Capitol,​”​ ​Cheney quoted Hannity as saying.

“Mark, the president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home,” read another message purportedly from Laura Ingraham. “This is hurting all of us. He is destroying his legacy.”

“Please get him on tv,” Cheney quoted “Fox & Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade as writing. “Destroying everything you have accomplished.”

The messages between Hannity and Meadows did not come up during Monday’s interview.

In her remarks, Cheney described the texts as “further evidence of President Trump’s supreme dereliction of duty” of Jan. 6 and claimed “Meadows’ testimony will bear on another key question before this Committee: Did Donald Trump, through action or inaction, corruptly seek to obstruct or impede Congress’s official proceeding to count electoral votes?”

Steve Bannon, a former White House adviser and longtime political ally of Trump, was indicted by a federal grand jury last month on two contempt of Congress charges.

​His trial has been scheduled for July. ​

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