The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol said Tuesday that Mark Meadows, Donald Trump’s former chief of staff, is cooperating with its probe.
Trump has been waging an aggressive battle to withhold documents related to the Jan. 6 attacks, claiming that they’re protected by executive privilege. Meadows had been allied with he former president.
But committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said in a statement that Meadows had “produced records to the committee and will soon appear for an initial deposition.”
“The Select Committee expects all witnesses, including Mr. Meadows, to provide all information requested and that the Select Committee is lawfully entitled to receive,” Thompson said. “The committee will continue to assess his degree of compliance with our subpoena after the deposition.”
In a statement to CNN on Tuesday, however, Meadows’ attorney said the parties were still working out what his client will share with the committee.
“As we have from the beginning, we continue to work with the Select Committee and its staff to see if we 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,” George Terwilliger said. “We appreciate the Select Committee’s openness to receiving voluntary responses on non-privileged topics.”
By cooperating, Meadows avoids charges of criminal contempt of Congress ― something Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, said Meadows was in danger of after he failed to appear for a deposition earlier this month. The House has already proceeded with such charges against former Trump White House adviser Steve Bannon, who refused to comply with a subpoena.
The matter of who and what can be covered by executive privilege ― the concept that the president has the right to conceal or withhold information under certain circumstances ― has been debated throughout all of U.S. history, with presidents and Congress regularly disagreeing and launching lengthy legal battles.
Trump has argued that he and his aides, even informal ones like Bannon, should be protected under executive privilege and do not need to comply with the Jan. 6 committee’s subpoenas. President Joe Biden’s administration has rejected this claim, saying this “assertion of executive privilege is not in the best interests of the United States.”