Mark Meadows recommended for criminal prosecution by the House Committee
Trump’s former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows was cooperating with the House panel investigating the January 6 insurrection, until Trump got mad and he stopped, so the committee has voted issuing contempt charges against him.
This recommendation has come after the release of thousands of emails and texts received from Meadows. The nine-member panel released a 51-page report on Sunday, which includes details of the documents he has provided- 6,600 pages of record from personal email accounts and approximately 2,000 text messages. The documents weren’t released but the panel has described some of them.
The documents give details as to how Meadows was helping Trump overturn his defeat in the presidential election, communications amongst Congress members, and organizers of a rally held in the morning of the insurrection. In addition, frantic messages were sent to aides as the violence unfolded that day.
Committee chair Bennie Thompson said in his opening statement, “A small group of people has gotten a lot of attention because of their defiance. But many others have taken a different path and provided important information about January 6 and the context in which the riot occurred. Anyone who wants to cooperate with our investigation can do so. Nearly everyone has.”
Even though Meadows had agreed to cooperate with the House panel, providing emails and text messages, however, he failed to sit for a deposition last week and has refused to hand over some documents, citing Trump’s claims of privilege.
The panel’s charges will send the matter to full House, which will most likely approve the decision and lead Meadows to criminal prosecution by the Justice Department. If the Justice Department finds him guilty, he could face jail for up to 1 year.
Some of the documents handed over by Meadows show that he sent an email to an unidentified person saying that the guard present would protect the “Pro-Trump people” and that there would be more on standby. The House panel also wants to know about Trump’s discussions regarding the response of the National Guard, which was delayed for hours.
Meadows also provided text messages that he received as the 6 January riot unfolded, including from Don Jr, who implored him “we need an Oval Office address” to stop the Capitol attack. He also received messages from Fox News hosts.
“Hey Mark, the president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home, this is hurting all of us, he is destroying his legacy,” Fox News host Laura Ingraham texted to Meadows.
“Please get him on tv. Destroying everything you have accomplished,” Brian Kilmeade texted Meadows.
In response to one text from Don Jr., Meadows texted: “I’m pushing it hard. I agree.”
Cheney also has texts that were from members of Congress: “Hey, Mark, protestors are literally storming the Capitol,” read one text. “Breaking windows on doors. Rushing in. Is Trump going to say something?”
Thompson also said, “History will record that in a critical moment in our democracy, most people were on the side of finding the truth, of providing accountability, of strengthening our system for future generations. And history will also record, in this critical moment, that some people were not.”
The panel’s vice chair, Congresswoman Liz Cheney read out texts loudly from Hannity, Inghram, Kilmeade and Trump Jr. to Meadows that “urged immediate action by the president” on January 6. Kilmeade texted, “Please get him on TV, destroying everything you have accomplished.”
The panel also stated Meadows provided text messages to and from members of Congress- before, during, and after the insurrection on January 6. The panel attached a transcript report containing a list of questions they would have asked if Meadows turned up. The transcript showed text messages between Meadows and a senator discussing former Vice President Mike Pence’s “power to reject electors”, which would potentially change the outcome of the election. He also recounts direct messages with Trump, who according to Meadows, quote, “thinks the legislators have the power, but the VP has power too,’ end quote.”
There were other texts, where former colleagues of Meadows encouraged him to convince Trump to put a stop to the attack. There were text messages from organizers where they told Meadows they needed “desperate” directions from him since things “have gotten crazy”.
Meadows appeared on Fox News after the vote saying he found it “disappointing but not surprising.” He sued the panel, asking to invalidate two subpoenas which according to him is “overly broad and unduly burdensome.” The panel has already interviewed around 300 witnesses and lawmakers and plans to make many of the findings public.