Protect Democracy urges House to hold Mark Meadows in contempt and the Justice Department to refer the citation to a grand jury

  • December 14, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. — After yesterday’s unanimous, bipartisan vote by the House January 6th Select Committee to find former president Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows in contempt of Congress for his refusal to comply with a lawful subpoena, Protect Democracy encourages the full House to certify the citation and the Justice Department to promptly refer the matter to a grand jury.

The Select Committee has correctly dismissed Mr. Meadows’s attempt to use executive privilege as a means to obstruct a congressional inquiry into potential grave wrongdoings. As former senior Republican administration lawyers recently explained: “Legal precedent and settled constitutional principles militate strongly against acceding to claims of executive privilege by a former president seeking to cover up conduct that was both purely political and antithetical to the constitutional duties of his office… Meadows’s actions to aid and abet a failed candidate’s unlawful attempt to subvert the results of an election were not taken pursuant to any official duty, and thus may not be protected by invoking a privilege designed solely for official actions.”

“Hiding behind vague, inconsistent, and spurious claims of executive privilege is not just about undermining a congressional investigation,” said Protect Democracy counsel Erica Newland. “It also undermines the integrity of executive privilege: an authority to be used sparingly in the public interest, not haphazardly to advance a personal interest. And certainly not to evade accountability.”

Particularly given Mr. Meadows’s apparent central role in and knowledge about the January 6th insurrection, both Congress and the Executive Branch must hold his unlawful noncompliance to account. As a federal appellate court found just last week, “former President Trump and his advisors played a materially relevant role” leading up to and on January 6th. This clearly includes Mr. Meadows. It is now incumbent upon the Justice Department to ensure that Mr. Meadows, who was directed by the Executive Branch to comply with the committee’s investigation, does not continue his campaign to undermine the rule of law.