The House voted in favor of a resolution calling for a criminal contempt of Congress prosecution to be brought against Donald Trump’s last chief of staff, Mark Meadows, who broke an injunction to testify.
The request will be formally transmitted to the Department of Justice, which will decide whether or not to lay charges. Following a similar House vote, the department indicted former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon last month for defying a subpoena as well as a production order for documents.
The resolution regarding Mr Meadows, which stemmed from a recommendation made the day before by the committee tasked with shedding light on the events of January 6, was widely adopted, as has become the custom, along partisan lines.
Unlike Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s former collaborator, however, cooperated with the committee and handed it some 9,000 documents, including emails and text messages.
Mr Meadows, a former elected official who has previously served in the House, however refused to appear afterwards for the deposition scheduled for last Wednesday. His lawyer had telegraphed his intentions and suggested that the special committee wanted to question him about information falling within executive privilege.
An assertion echoing the argument raised in court by Donald Trump who hopes to dissuade his former collaborators from participating in the work of the committee.
The committee had warned Mark Meadows of the prosecution he would face if he refused to come and answer his questions. He responded, however, by filing a lawsuit against the Inquiry Committee and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in an effort to block injunctions against him.
If the Justice Department were to bring criminal charges against him for contempt of Congress, Mr. Meadows would risk, in the event of a guilty verdict, being ordered to pay a fine of up to $ 100,000 and serve a sentence of d ‘imprisonment of up to one year.
Committee chairman Bennie Thompson said on Monday that the committee was scheduled to hear from a dozen
key witnesses, because he estimated that the bar of 300 witnesses who appeared would then have been crossed.
The committee also received 30,000 documents in addition to obtaining 250 clues transmitted by the telephone line set up, he said.
Pleas for Trump to intervene
During the House debate leading up to the vote on the resolution, members of the Capitol Assault Committee outlined their reasons for why Mark Meadows should be charged with contempt of Congress.
primarily based on his refusal to testify about messages and other communications which he admits are not privileged of the executive, in particular argued the Republican Liz Cheney, vice-president of the special committee.
The thousands of documents he has agreed to hand over raise questions he must answer, she said.
As hundreds of Donald Trump supporters invaded the American Democracy Headquarters, Mr. Meadows received
many messages imploring the president to intervene, including from
members of this Chamber, she said without naming them.
Elected officials who understood that a violent attack was taking place on the Capitol. Elected officials who begged the chief of staff to encourage the president to act. Dozens of text messages, including from Trump administration officials and members of Congress, urging the president to act immediately, she said, reading some of the posts.
Mark he has to stop this NOW;
The president must be firm and tell the demonstrators to go home. Someone is going to get killed, she related.
The day before, during a committee meeting, she had read more messages. These came, for example, from star hosts at Fox News and even from Donald Trump’s eldest son, all of whom were also pleading for Donald Trump to do something.
He must condemn this mess as quickly as possible. The Capitol Police tweet is not enough, wrote Donald Trump Jr., what Mark Meadows said to himself
OK. The president’s son returned to the charge later.
” We need a speech from the Oval Office. He must lead now. It has gone too far. And it gets out of hand. “
Stars of Fox News, a network that played down the events of January 6 or the role of Donald Trump on the air, or attributed the violence to antifa, behind the scenes called for swift and concrete action on the part of the Republican president.
Can he make a statement?, suggested Sean Hannity.
Asking people to leave the Capitol.
Mark, the president must tell people at the Capitol to go home, wrote Laura Ingraham.
He is destroying his heritage.
Other elected officials have expressed their dismay.
Mark, the protesters are literally storming the Capitol, smashing windows, doors, breaking inside. Is Trump going to say something?one of them asked.
We are all helpless, summed up another.
The colleagues of Ms. Cheney, well isolated within her own camp, for their part attacked the Democrats. Jim Jordan, a staunch ally of Mr. Trump, for example accused them of stepping up anti-democratic maneuvers and destroying the
National Guard ready to ‘protect’ pro-Trump protesters
The committee’s arguments against Mark Meadows were the subject of a fifty-page report released on Sunday. Documents that were handed to the committee shed new light on the role it appears to have played in the efforts to overthrow the 2020 election.
In an email, he, according to the committee, claimed that the National Guard would protect the
trump people January 6th.
The committee also claims that it gave advice to an organizer of the January 6 rally after the latter wrote:
This is madness, and I desperately need advice. Please.
The day after the presidential election, even before the results of several key states were known, an unidentified Republican elected official suggested a
aggressive strategy, under which Republican-led states, such as Pennsylvania and Georgia, should appoint their
own grand voters, regardless of the outcome of the ballot. These two states were ultimately won by Joe Biden.
The chairman of the investigation committee said on CNN that the committee would soon decide whether to disclose the identity of the elected officials who had discussions with Mr. Meadows.