On Tuesday, former White House chief of staff Mark meadows announced he is no longer cooperating with the House Select Committee.
Background: Last week, reports broke that President Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows had reached an initial deal to cooperate with the House committee investigating the events surrounding the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
Meadows attorney George Terwilliger said in a statement at the time:
“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,” Terwilliger, said.
“We appreciate the Select Committee’s openness to receiving voluntary responses on non-privileged topics.”
What Happened: Now, Meadows’s attorney said that despite good faith efforts to cooperate with the panel’s needs Meadows will refuse to work with the panel after they refused to meet him in the middle.
“Over the last several weeks, Mr. Meadows has consistently sought in good faith to pursue an accommodation with the Select Committee and up until yesterday we believed that could be obtained,” Terwilliger said in a letter to committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo. He noted that he and Meadows “consistently communicated” that Meadows could not make “a unilateral decision to waive Executive Privilege claims asserted by the former president.” (per Fox News)
According to Terwilliger, the committee’s chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson also made statements that caused Meadows to reconsider working with the panel.
“The chairman of the committee … publicly said that another witness’s claiming of the Fifth Amendment would be tantamount to an admission of guilt,” Terwilliger said, adding that this called into question “exactly what is going on with this committee.” (per Fox News)
What Meadows Says: In the official letter explaining his noncompliance to the committee, Meadows noted that the panel is coming dangerously close to overstepping its authority.
“It is well-established that Congress’s subpoena authority is limited to the pursuit of a legitimate legislative purpose,” he wrote. “Congress has no authority to conduct law enforcement investigations or free-standing ‘fact finding’ missions.”