Meadows "engaging" with House January 6 committee, chairman says

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Congressman Bennie Thompson, the chair of the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, said Tuesday that former President Donald Trump's chief of staff Mark Meadows has been engaging with the committee and has produced records.

In a statement, Thompson said Meadows has been working with the committee "through an attorney," and has "produced records to the committee and will soon appear for an initial deposition."

He said the committee expected all witnesses, including Meadows, to provide all the information the panel has requested and is entitled to receive. "The committee will continue to assess his degree of compliance with our subpoena after the deposition," Thompson said.

It's unclear how far Meadows' initial cooperation with the committee will go. On Tuesday, Thompson told reporters the former congressman had turned over around 6,000 emails. He said the committee has taken the threat of recommending Meadows in contempt of Congress "off the table for the time being."

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows talks to reporters at the White House on October 21, 2020 in Washington, DC. / Credit: TASOS KATOPODIS / Getty Images
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows talks to reporters at the White House on October 21, 2020 in Washington, DC. / Credit: TASOS KATOPODIS / Getty Images

George Terwilliger, Meadows' attorney, said in a statement to CBS News that he and his client are working with the January 6 panel and staff to see if they 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," he said.

Earlier this month, the committee threatened to seek a contempt referral for Meadows if he did not work with them. Meadows failed to appear for a deposition on November 12, escalating the standoff between the two sides. The committee has already recommended that former Trump strategist Steve Bannon be held in contempt after he refused to appear. The full House of Representatives voted in October to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress after the committee's recommendation. Bannon was then indicted by a federal grand jury on two counts of contempt of Congress.

The committee will meet on Wednesday to discuss a contempt recommendation for former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, who Thompson said has continued to resist his subpoena..

The meeting comes as the committee interviews more witnesses on Mr. Trump's efforts to overturn the outcome of the 2020 election.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who was pressured by Mr. Trump to change his state's election results, told CBS News on Tuesday that he had spoken with the January 6 committee. Raffensperger said the committee had reached out to him.

"My conversation with the president was out there," Raffensperger said about his conversation with the committee. "And so I wrote a book about that — 'Integrity Counts.' We just talked about the 2020 election, post-election issues."

Among the Trump associates and allies subpoenaed by the committee are Stephen Miller, Kayleigh McEnany and Dan Scavino.

Meadows was among the first tranche of White House aides and allies of Mr. Trump to receive a subpoena from the select committee. The panel is seeking both documents and testimony from the former North Carolina congressman related to his involvement in events surrounding the January 6 assault on the Capitol.

In a letter sent in late September seeking information from Meadows, Thompson said that as the former president's chief of staff, Meadows has "critical information regarding elements" of the select committee's inquiry.

In addition to being with Mr. Trump on January 6 and communicating with him and others regarding events at the Capitol, Thompson cited reporting by ProPublica that Meadows was engaged in elements of the planning and efforts to delay the counting of electoral votes by Congress during the joint session on January 6.

Meadows also communicated with top officials at the Justice Department about alleged voter fraud in several key states and pushed for states to investigate fraud claims, according to documents filed with the committee and made public as part of separate House and Senate investigations.

Since the formation of the select committee earlier this year, the panel has issued 45 subpoenas to a wide range of individuals who may have knowledge about the events surrounding the January 6 assault. In addition to former White House and Trump campaign aides and staff, the committee is seeking information from organizers of the rally held outside the White House on January 6 and far-right extremist groups who are linked to violence at the Capitol.

Mr. Trump, meanwhile, is involved in his own legal battle with the committee in an effort to stop the National Archives from turning over reams of White House documents related to the January 6 assault.

The former president sued the committee in October after President Biden rejected his claim of executive privilege for documents requested by the panel from the National Archives. Mr. Trump lost an initial bid to shield the records before a federal district court, but appealed the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

The appeals court temporarily blocked the release of the records while litigation continues, and a three-judge panel on Tuesday held oral arguments in the dispute.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi created the January 6 committee earlier this year to investigate the attack, when thousands of Trump supporters descended on the Capitol as Congress counted the electoral votes, a largely ceremonial final step affirming Mr. Biden's victory. Lawmakers were sent fleeing amid the riot, which led to the deaths of five people and the arrests of hundreds more. Mr. Trump, who encouraged his supporters to "walk over" to the Capitol during the Stop the Steal rally, was impeached by the House one week later for inciting the riot, but was later acquitted by the Senate.

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