Meadows said National Guard would be present on Jan. 6 to ‘protect pro Trump people,’ investigators say
Former President Trump’s ex-chief of staff Mark Meadows wrote in an email that the National Guard would be present on Jan. 6 in order to “protect pro Trump people,” according to a report released by the House select committee investigating the attack on the Capitol.
“Mr. Meadows sent an email to an individual about the events on January 6 and said that the National Guard would be present to ‘protect pro Trump people’ and that many more would be available on standby,” investigators said.
The committee is seeking more information regarding Meadows’s awareness of and communications regarding the events that unfolded on Jan. 6, including reportedly exchanging text messages with rally organizers and pursuing plans to try to undermine the results of the 2020 presidential election.
“Mr. Meadows was in contact with at least some of the private individuals who planned and organized a January 6 rally, one of whom reportedly may have expressed safety concerns to Mr. Meadows about January 6 events. Mr. Meadows used his personal cell phone to discuss the rally in the days leading up to January 6,” Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the committee, wrote.
According to investigators, Meadows also communicated with Republican state leaders, encouraging them to send alternate electors to Congress. He also reportedly forwarded claims of election fraud to Department of Justice leadership for them to investigate, using his personal email at times.
Meadows also sent an email to former Vice President Mike Pence’s staff titled “Constitutional Analysis of the Vice President’s Authority for January 6, 2021, Vote Count” that argued Pence could declare state-certified electoral votes to be in dispute, according to the report.
On Jan. 6, Pence ultimately certified the results of the 2020 election after a pro-Trump mob disrupted proceedings and the Capitol had been secured. Pence has repeatedly insisted that he did not have the constitutional authority to reject or return certified electoral votes.
This panel’s report recommended that Meadows be held in contempt, ahead of a vote this week in the House on whether to do so.
“Mr. Meadows’s failure to appear for deposition testimony in the face of this clear advisement and warning by the Chairman, and after being given a second chance to cooperate with the Select Committee, constitutes a willful failure to comply with the subpoena,” the committee stated.
Attorneys for Meadows have insisted that he cannot be made to testify in front of Congress since he is a former White House staffer. In Sunday’s report, Thompson shot down this argument, writing that even though Meadows is a former White House staffer, he is not entitled to absolute testimonial immunity.
Thompson further argued that the actions the committee wants information on — communicating with state officials and rally organizers about overturning the election results through his personal channel — do not fall under Meadows official duties and as such are not subject to immunity if he were to have it.
“All courts that have reviewed this issue have been clear: even senior White House aides who advise the President on official government business are not immune from compelled congressional process. Instead, Mr. Meadows acknowledges that this theory of immunity is based entirely on internal memoranda from [Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel] that courts, in relevant parts, have uniformly rejected,” wrote Thompson.
A vote on holding Meadows in contempt is expected this week.
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