A third member of former President Donald Trump’s inner circle could face the possibility of criminal charges for refusing to cooperate with the House’s Jan. 6 panel: Mark Meadows.
Meadows informed the House committee investigating the U.S. Capitol riot on Tuesday that he does not intend to cooperate any further with their efforts to uncover exactly how the attack was planned and carried out that day.
He made the decision “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,” said the committee’s chair, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), and vice chair, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), in a joint statement.
The panel’s leadership issued an ultimatum of sorts, saying that Meadows’ deposition “will go forward as planned” on Wednesday and that it was scheduled at Meadows’ “request.”
“If indeed Mr. Meadows refuses to appear, the Select Committee will be left no choice but to advance contempt proceedings and recommend that the body in which Mr. Meadows once served refer him for criminal prosecution,” Thompson and Cheney concluded. (Meadows represented North Carolina in the House from 2013 to 2020, when he became Trump’s chief of staff.)
Last week, the Jan. 6 committee voted to advance a criminal referral against former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, which now goes to the full House for a vote. The House previously referred former Trump aide Steve Bannon to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for criminal charges, for which he is set to stand trial in July 2022.
Through his attorney, Meadows had been cooperating off and on with the panel in regard to the subpoena, which was issued in late September. The panel is seeking an array of documentation from Jan. 6 to figure out what was going on inside the White House while mobs of Trump supporters were breaking into the Capitol and assaulting police officers.
In recent days, reports have emerged that Trump is unhappy with Meadows’ new book about his time in the Trump administration, titled “The Chief’s Chief.” The book reveals several previously unreported details about Trump’s battle with COVID-19 last fall, including that his blood oxygen levels dropped to a “dangerously low” level at one point and that he had “red streaks in his eyes.” It also claims that Trump tested positive for COVID-19 three days before his first debate with now-President Joe Biden, although he was negative in a subsequent test.
According to The Daily Beast, Trump’s reaction apparently took Meadows by surprise, as he thought his former boss would appreciate the book.