House votes to hold Mark Meadows in contempt in Jan. 6 probe

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By FARNOUSH AMIRI and MARY CLARE JALONICK, Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The House voted Tuesday to clasp erstwhile White House main of unit Mark Meadows successful contempt of Congress aft helium ceased to cooperate with the Jan. 6 Committee investigating the Capitol insurrection — making it the archetypal clip the enclosure has voted to clasp a erstwhile subordinate successful contempt since the 1830s.

The near-party-line 222-208 ballot is the 2nd clip the peculiar committee has sought to punish a witnesser for defying a subpoena. The ballot is the latest amusement of unit by the Jan. 6 panel, which is leaving nary space unexplored — and nary subpoena unanswered — arsenic it investigates the worst onslaught connected the Capitol successful much than 200 years. Lawmakers connected the sheet are determined to get answers quickly, and successful doing truthful reassert the legislature authorization that eroded portion erstwhile President Donald Trump was successful office.

“History volition beryllium written astir these times, astir the enactment this committee has undertaken,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, R-Miss., the chairman. “And past volition not look upon immoderate of you arsenic a martyr. History volition not look upon you arsenic a victim.”

The 2 GOP votes — Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who service connected the committee — successful favour of the solution came aft 9 Republicans voted to clasp erstwhile Trump state Steve Bannon successful contempt successful October. While Bannon’s lawsuit was much clear-cut -- helium ne'er engaged with the committee astatine each -- Meadows had turned implicit documents and negotiated for 2 months with the sheet astir an interview. Meadows besides has person relationships wrong the Republican caucus, having conscionable near Congress past year.

Meadows was besides Trump’s apical adjutant successful the White House, giving him much plausible grounds to assertion enforcement privilege. Bannon had not worked successful the White House since 2017.

The Justice Department volition besides beryllium weighing those factors arsenic prosecutors determine whether to determination guardant with the case. If convicted, Bannon and Meadows could each look up to 1 twelvemonth down bars connected each charge.

Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., different subordinate of the panel, began Tuesday’s statement connected the solution by speechmaking frantic texts from the time of the onslaught revealing members of Congress, Fox News anchors and adjacent Trump’s lad urging Meadows to transportation the outgoing president to enactment rapidly to halt the three-hour battle by his supporters.

Republicans connected Tuesday called the enactment against Meadows a distraction from the House's work, with 1 subordinate calling it “evil” and “un-American.”

Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio praised Meadows: “Make nary mistake, erstwhile Democrats ballot successful favour of this resolution, it is simply a ballot to enactment a bully antheral successful prison.”

Trump besides defended Meadows successful an interview, saying: “I deliberation Mark should bash what’s right. He’s an honorable man. He shouldn’t beryllium enactment done this."

And Meadows’ lawyer George Terwilliger defended his lawsuit successful a connection earlier the vote, noting that helium had provided documents to the sheet and maintaining that helium should not beryllium compelled to look for an interview.

Terwilliger said, “The Select Committee’s existent intentions successful dealing with Mr. Meadows person been revealed erstwhile it accuses him of contempt citing the precise documents his practice has produced.”

Meadows himself has sued the panel, asking a tribunal to invalidate 2 subpoenas that helium says are “overly wide and unduly burdensome.”

Meanwhile, Senate Republican person Mitch McConnell told reporters: “I bash deliberation we’re each watching, arsenic you are, what is unfolding connected the House side. And it volition beryllium absorbing to uncover each the participants who were involved.”

He added that helium was not successful interaction with Meadows connected the time of the attack.

Democrats quoted astatine magnitude from Jan. 6 substance messages provided by Meadows portion helium was cooperating with the committee.

“We request an Oval Office address," Donald Trump Jr. texted, the committee said, arsenic his father's supporters were breaking into the Capitol, sending lawmakers moving for their lives and interrupting the certification of Joe Biden's statesmanlike victory. "He has to pb now. It has gone excessively acold and gotten retired of hand.”

Trump Jr. added, "He’s got to condemn this s—- ASAP." In effect to 1 of Trump Jr.'s texts, Meadows said: “I’m pushing it hard. I agree.”

Members of the committee said the texts rise caller questions astir what was happening astatine the White House — and what Trump himself was doing — arsenic the onslaught was underway. The committee had planned to question Meadows astir the communications, including 6,600 pages of records taken from idiosyncratic email accounts and astir 2,000 substance messages. The sheet has not released immoderate of the communications successful full.

Cheney, the panel’s vice chairwoman, said astatine the committee's Monday evening gathering that an important contented raised by the texts is whether Trump sought to obstruct the legislature certification by refusing to nonstop a beardown connection to the rioters to stop.

“These texts permission nary doubt,” she said. “The White House knew precisely what was happening astatine the Capitol.”

The investigating sheet has already interviewed much than 300 witnesses, and subpoenaed much than 40 people, arsenic it seeks to make the astir broad grounds yet of the lead-up to the insurrection and of the convulsive siege itself.

If Meadows had appeared for his deposition, lawmakers had planned to inquire him astir Trump’s efforts to overturn the predetermination successful the weeks earlier the insurrection, including his outreach to states and his communications with members of Congress.

The sheet says it wanted to cognize much astir whether Trump was engaged successful discussions regarding the effect of the National Guard, which was delayed for hours arsenic the unit escalated and the rioters bushed constabulary guarding the Capitol building.

The documents provided by Meadows see an email helium sent to an unidentified idiosyncratic saying that the Guard would beryllium contiguous to “protect pro Trump people," the sheet said, and that much would beryllium disposable connected standby. The committee did not merchandise immoderate further details astir that email.

Committee unit said they would person interviewed Meadows astir emails “to enactment astatine the Department of Justice connected December 29th and 30th, 2020, and January 1st, 2021, encouraging investigations of suspected elector fraud,” adjacent though predetermination officials and courts crossed the state had rejected those claims.

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Associated Press writers Eric Tucker and Darlene Superville contributed to this report.

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