Jan. 6 committee responds to Meadows lawsuit, says it will refer him to DOJ for prosecution

Pence talks January 6 committee, 2022 elections

Former Vice President Mike Pence, in an interview with Fox News at a bakery in Bedford, New Hampshire discusses the 2022 and 2024 elections.

The January 6 House congressional committee responded to a lawsuit from former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows by calling it flawed and said they plan on referring him to the Justice Department for prosecution. 

“Mr. Meadows’s flawed lawsuit won’t succeed at slowing down the Select Committee’s investigation or stopping us from getting the information we’re seeking,” the committee said in a statement late Wednesday. “The Select Committee will meet next week to advance a report recommending that the House cite Mr. Meadows for contempt of Congress and refer him to the Department of Justice for prosecution.”

FILE PHOTO: White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speaks to reporters following a television interview, outside the White House in Washington, Oct. 21, 2020. REUTERS/Al Drago/File Picture/File Photo
(REUTERS/Al Drago/File Picture/File Photo)

Earlier in the day, Meadows filed legal action against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and members of the committee in response to being subpoenaed as they attempt to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill protest that turned violent and has led to criminal charges against dozens of Trump supporters.

Meadows’ lawsuit, filed in federal court in Washington, asks a judge to invalidate two subpoenas that he says are “overly broad and unduly burdensome.” It accuses the committee of overreaching by issuing a subpoena to Verizon for his cell phone records.

Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., meets with the select committee on the Jan. 6 attack. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

“Allowing an entirely partisan select committee of Congress to subpoena the personal cell phone data of executive officials would work a massive chilling of current and future Executive Branch officials’ associational and free speech rights,” the lawsuit states.

Meadows told the committee on Tuesday that he would no longer cooperate with their inquiry into the unrest at the Capitol earlier this year.  

Committee Chairman Rep Bennie G. Thompson suggested the move was hypocritical.

“Mark Meadows has informed the Select Committee that he does not intend to cooperate further with our investigation despite his apparent willingness to provide details about the facts and circumstances surrounding the January 6th attack, including conversations with President Trump, in the book he is now promoting and selling,” Thompson said in a statement earlier this week.

The committee in August issued a sweeping demand that telecommunications and social media companies preserve the personal communications of hundreds of people who may have been connected to the attack. But the panel did not ask the companies to turn over the records at that time.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows looks on before President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Keith House, Washington’s Headquarters, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020, in Newtown, Pa. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

As the investigation has progressed, the committee has “sought data that will help answer important questions” but does not include the content of the communications, according to a committee aide who was not authorized to publicly discuss the investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity. The metadata requested includes dates and times of the communications, which could include both emails and texts.

Reuters reported earlier this year that the Federal Bureau of Investigation found that there was “scant evidence” of an organized plot to raid the Capitol.

“Ninety to ninety-five percent of these are one-off cases,” a former senior law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation told Reuters. “Then you have five percent, maybe, of these militia groups that were more closely organized. But there was no grand scheme with Roger Stone and Alex Jones and all of these people to storm the Capitol and take hostages.”

Associated Press contributed to this report 

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