Thompson’s contempt risk is the third he’s issued in current weeks. The committee has held former Trump aide Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress, a cost the Home referred final month to the Justice Division, the place it stays pending. Thompson has additionally threatened contempt in opposition to Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Division official who helped orchestrate Trump’s effort to subvert the 2020 election outcomes.
It’s unclear whether or not the Justice Division intends to behave on the Bannon referral, and committee members have stated it’s pressing for the division to behave rapidly or threat additional stonewalling from Trump allies.
Terwilliger issued a press release earlier Thursday claiming that Meadows is “immune” from congressional testimony beneath long-standing Justice Division opinions. He stated President Joe Biden is “the primary President to make no effort in anyway to guard presidential communications from being the topic of compelled testimony.” Meadows, Terwilliger added, will defer to an instruction from former President Donald Trump and decline to cooperate.
However these Justice Division opinions carry no authorized weight, and Thompson famous that courts which have thought-about facets of them have all rejected the notion that any presidential aides are “completely immune” from cooperating with congressional investigations. As well as, the authorized opinions the division has relied on in earlier administrations all handled sitting presidents, not aides to former presidents.
The White Home on Thursday sought to bolster Thompson’s place, sending a letter to Terwilliger expressing Biden’s want to waive govt privilege for testimony associated to the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol.
“For that motive, and others, your shopper has now been suggested that (i) ‘an assertion of privilege will not be justified with respect to testimony and paperwork’ related to the Choose Committee’s investigation, and (ii) the President is not going to be asserting any claims of govt privilege or testimonial immunity relating to topics about which the Choose Committee seeks paperwork and testimony from Mr. Meadows,” Thompson wrote.
Thompson stated he anticipated Meadows to supply all related paperwork and deposition testimony by Friday or face a chance of felony and civil proceedings in opposition to him.
Thompson famous that even when Meadows meant to struggle the committee’s requests, he was required to seem and assert any privileges he thinks would bar his testimony.
“If there are particular questions throughout that deposition that you simply consider increase reliable privilege points, Mr. Meadows ought to state them at the moment on the report for the Choose Committee’s consideration and attainable judicial assessment,” Thompson wrote.
He added that any paperwork Meadows believes shouldn’t be disclosed ought to nonetheless be itemized in a “privilege log” so the committee can assess his claims.
Thompson indicated that Terwilliger didn’t reply to earlier inquiries that don’t have any conceivable nexus to govt privilege.
“For instance, my most up-to-date letter to you listed eight questions on which the Choose Committee seeks Mr. Meadows’s testimony associated to his use of private mobile units and electronic mail accounts,” Thompson famous. “Your response didn’t tackle these points and, as an alternative, made common and unspecified blanket assertions of immunity and govt privilege.”