“The select committee has no choice but to advance the contempt proceedings and recommend that the body in which Mr. Meadows once served dismiss him for criminal prosecution,” wrote committee chairman Bennie Thompson , a Democrat from Mississippi, in a letter dated December 7.
The letter also reveals new details of previous correspondence between the two parties and shares for the first time in more detail the information that Meadows had voluntarily passed on to the committee.
Prior to Meadows’ decision to end his cooperation with the committee, he had handed over about 6,000 pages of documents to the panel. Among those pages, Thompson reveals that Meadows provided the committee with important information from both his personal email account and his personal cell phone that is relevant to the committee’s investigation.
In a November 6, 2020 text exchange with a congressman, Meadows reportedly said “I love him” when discussing the possibility of appointing alternate voters in some states, and the member acknowledged that the plan would be “very controversial”.
Thompson shares that the slice of documents Meadows handed over included an email from January 5, 2021 containing a 38-page PowerPoint briefing titled “Election Fraud, Foreign Interference & Options for 6 JAN” to deliver “over the hill; ”An email from November 7, 2020 discussing the appointment of alternate voters lists in a“ direct and collateral attack ”after the election; and an e-mail of January 5, 2021 concerning the standby of the National Guard.
The committee also has in its possession a text exchange between Meadows and an organizer of the January 6 rally from early January 2021, and text messages about the need for Trump to issue some sort of public statement to stop the attack on the January 6 at the Capitol. .
Along with the emails and text messages from personal accounts provided to the committee, Thompson said Meadows also included a privilege log showing he withheld several hundred additional emails and over 1,000 text messages “on the basis of an officer, attorney-client or other lien claim. “
“All of these documents raise issues that the select committee would like to question Mr. Meadows on and on which you seem to agree are not the subject of a claim of privilege,” Thompson wrote in the letter advising Meadows that the committee would prosecute criminal contempt. lawsuits against him.
Thompson also raises the question that, since so many emails and text messages Meadows provided came from his personal accounts, “were these documents transferred to the National Archives in accordance with the Presidential Records Act”.
At the heart of the fallout between Meadows and the committee is a disagreement over what is covered by executive privilege.
“We now have all indications from the information provided to us last Friday – about which Mr. Meadows might expect to be questioned – that the select committee does not intend to abide by the limits on executive privilege.” said Meadows lawyer George J. Terwilliger. He said in a letter to the committee indicating that Meadows would no longer cooperate.
In his letter in response to Meadows and his lawyer, Thompson does not see it that way.
“Indeed, the select committee made several attempts to identify with precision the areas of inquiry which, according to Mr. Meadows, are protected by a claim of executive privilege, but neither you nor Mr. Meadows have provided this. information in a meaningful way, ”Thompson wrote.
Thompson responded to this complaint by saying, “Contrary to your claim, this information does not imply any privilege, but rather relates to the date, time and dialing information on calls and messages sent or received by the numbers. specific telephone numbers indicated on the assignment. “
Finally, Thompson rebuffed a claim by Meadows’ attorney that the President’s previous comments suggest “that a witness’s assertion of 5th Amendment rights” amounts to an admission of guilt. “
“This is not an accurate characterization of my position on the 5th Amendment, and this interpretation of my comments is inconsistent with our discussions on the purpose of tomorrow’s deposition – i.e. a procedure in which your client can assert claims of privilege with sufficient precision for further consideration, “Thompson wrote on Wednesday.
Although Meadows has not indicated he will claim 5th Amendment protections, several witnesses called by the committee, including Trump ally Roger Stone and former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, have said that they intended to do so.
Meadows was first subpoenaed by the committee on September 23. On November 12, Meadows did not show up for a deposition, but on November 22, the committee gave Meadows another opportunity to begin cooperating with the committee by handing over documents and scheduling a new deposition. which Meadows agreed to. But, the day before the scheduled deposition, Meadows, through his lawyer, informed the committee that he would not be appearing for the scheduled deposition on December 8 and would cease to cooperate with the committee.
This story was updated with additional developments on Wednesday.