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House sends contempt recommendation for Meadows to Justice Department


Update (Dec. 15, 2021): A day after the House committee investigating January’s Capitol riots sent its recommendation of contempt charges for former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to the full House, the House voted to send that recommendation to the Justice Department. The video above shows both the committee’s and the full House’s vote. The full House vote was mostly along party lines at 222 to 208. It also marked the first time the chamber has voted to hold a former member in contempt since the 1830s.

Tuesday night’s vote came after hours of debate on the House floor. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) began debate by reading texts that reveal members of Congress, Fox News anchors and even Trump’s son urged Meadows to persuade Former President Donald Trump to act quickly to stop the riots. Meanwhile Republicans argued the vote was a distraction from the House’s work, with one member calling it “evil” and “un-American.”

“Make no mistake, when Democrats vote in favor of this resolution, it is a vote to put a good man in prison,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) said.

If the DOJ decides to prosecute Meadows, he could face up to a year in prison if convicted.

Original Story (Dec. 14, 2021): In a unanimous 9-0 vote, the House committee investigating January’s Capitol riots sent its recommendation of contempt charges for former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to the House Monday night. The video above shows the vote. A full House vote to send the recommendation to the Justice Department is expected later Tuesday.

The Select Committee’s report referring Mr. Meadows for criminal contempt charges is clear and compelling,” committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) said in opening statements before Monday’s vote. “As White House chief of staff, Mr. Meadows played a role in or was witness to key events leading up to and including the January 6th assault on the United States Capitol. Don’t let lawsuits or op-eds about executive privilege by Mr. Meadows or his representatives confuse you.”

The lawsuit Rep. Thompson referenced was filed last week by Meadows against the committee, each member, and House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). In a Monday letter to Thompson, Meadows’ attorney George Terwilliger said the contempt vote would be “unjust” since Meadows was one of Trump’s top aides and therefore should be afforded executive privilege to shield their private conversations. Terwilliger warned the recommendation of contempt charges a senior presidential aide by the committee “would do great damage to the institution of the Presidency.”

In her opening statements Monday, vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) detailed some of the texts obtained by the committee from Meadows before he ceased cooperating. Rep. Cheney said the texts “leave no doubt the White House knew exactly what was happening” at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

“One text Mr. Meadows received said, quote, ‘We are under siege up here at the Capitol.’ Another, quote, ‘They have breached the Capitol.’ In a third, ‘Mark, protestors are literally storming the Capitol. Breaking windows on doors. Rushing in. Is Trump going to say something,’” Cheney said. “Dozens of texts, including from Trump administration officials, urged immediate action by the President. Quote, ’POTUS has to come out firmly and tell protestors to dissipate. Someone is going to get killed.’ In another, ‘Mark, he needs to stop this. Now.’ A third, in all caps, ‘TELL THEM TO GO HOME.’ A fourth, and I quote, ‘POTUS needs to calm this s*** down.’”

Depending on Tuesday’s House vote, Meadows could become the second person to have the committee’s contempt recommendation make it all the way to the DOJ. Longtime Trump ally Steven Bannon was indicted last month.

Bennie Thompson, Committee Chairman: “Whatever legacy he thought he left in the House, this is his legacy now. His former colleague singing him out for criminal prosecution because he wouldn’t answer questions about what he knows about a brutal attack on our democracy. That’s his legacy. But he’s hasn’t left us any choice. Mr. Meadows put himself in this situation. He must now accept the consequences.”

Liz Cheney, U.S. Representative: “According to the records, multiple Fox News hosts knew the president (Donald Trump) needed to act immediately. They texted Mr. Meadows, and he has turned over those texts. Quote: ‘Mark, the president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home, this is hurting all of us. He is destroying his legacy,’ Laura Ingraham wrote. ‘Please get him on TV. Destroying everything you have accomplished,’ Brian Kilmeade texted. Quote: ‘Can he make a statement? Ask people to leave the Capitol?,’ Sean Hannity urged. As the violence continued, one of the president’s sons texted Mr Meadows quote: ‘He’s got to condemn this … (expletive) ASAP. The Capitol Police tweet is not enough,’ Donald Trump Jr. texted. Meadows responded, quote: ‘I’m pushing it hard. I agree.’ Still, President Trump did not immediately act.”

“Mr. Chairman. I move that the committee favorably report to the House the committee’s report on a resolution recommending that the House of Representatives find Mark Randall Meadows in contempt of Congress for refusal to comply with a subpoena duly issued by the select committee to investigate the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol.”

Bennie Thompson, Committee Chairman: “The question is on the motion to favorably report to the House, those in favor say ‘aye’;

Committee: “Aye”

Bennie Thompson, Committee Chairman: “Those opposed say no. In opinion of the Chair’s, the ayes have it.”

Clerk: “Mr. Chairman, on this vote, there are 9 ayes and zero nos.”

Bennie Thompson, Committee Chairman: “The motion is agreed to.”