Former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has filed a lawsuit against the Jan. 6 select committee and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, even as the panel prepares to hold him in contempt of Congress and pursue charges via the Justice Department.
Meadows is bringing “this complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief to invalidate and prohibit the enforcement of two overly broad and unduly burdensome subpoenas from a select committee of the U.S. House of Representatives (the ‘Select Committee’) issued in whole or part without legal authority in violation of the Constitution and laws of the United States,” the suit states.
He goes on to argue that “the Select Committee adamantly refused to recognize the immunity of present and former senior White House aides from being compelled to appear before Congress and likewise refused to recognize a former president’s claims of Executive Privilege and instructions to Mr. Meadows to maintain such privilege claims in addressing the Select Committee’s inquiries.”
The suit says that Meadows “has been put in the untenable position of choosing between conflicting privilege claims that are of constitutional origin and dimension and having to either risk enforcement of the subpoena issued to him, not merely by the House of Representatives, but through actions by the Executive and Judicial Branches, or, alternatively, unilaterally abandoning the former president’s claims of privileges and immunities.”
“Thus, Mr. Meadows turns to the courts to say what the law is,” the complaint continued.
The committee’s two leaders, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the chairman, and Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, the co-chair, issued a statement in response to the suit.
“Meadows’s flawed lawsuit won’t succeed at slowing down the Select Committee’s investigation or stopping us from getting info we’re seeking,” they said.
“The Committee will meet next week to advance a report recommending that the House cite Meadows for contempt and refer him for prosecution,” they added.
Initially, Meadows agreed to cooperate with the committee but since ended his cooperation after he determined the panel was just on a “fishing expedition,” .
“I can tell you they did this without notifying us. We came to the conclusion that they’re still going to try to question those personal private conversations that I had with the President of the United States and other senior officials in the West Wing. And quite frankly, their scope is, of course, going to have to do. So we’re going to challenge it,” said Meadows, who is also a former Republican congressman from North Carolina.
“I can tell you, because certain non-privileged communications, I think what they will find is that no one in the White House had any advance knowledge of anything that was going to happen on that [January 6] in terms of a breach of security,” he said.
“I can also tell you that… President Trump not only authorized but encouraged the authorization of 10,000 National Guard leading up to that. That’s not something that you do if you’re anticipating, you know, some kind of nefarious motive,” Meadows added.
“[T]hey are doing a fishing expedition,” he said of the committee. “It’s broadly believed that they’ve issued more subpoenas in the last two months than they have in the last decade.”