Former White House Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, is suing Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the January 6 committee.
He filed a 43-page complaint to the U.S. District Court in Washington in December. He asked a judge to block the enforcement of the two subpoenas the committee issued for himself and his telecom provider Verizon. He said the subpoenas were “overly broad and unduly burdensome” and he said the panel “lacks lawful authority” to obtain such information.
“The select Committee acts absent any valid legislative power and threatens to violate longstanding principles of executive privilege and immunity that are of constitutional origin and dimension,” the suit filed by Meadows’ attorney George Terwilliger said.
“Mr. Meadows, a witness, has been put in the untenable position of choosing between conflicting privilege claims that are of constitutional origin and dimension and having to either risk enforcement of the subpoena issued to him, not merely by the House of Representatives, but through actions by the Executive and Judicial Branches, or, alternatively, unilaterally abandoning the former president’s claims of privileges and immunities,” the suit read.
The January 6 Committee responded, “Mr. Meadows’s flawed lawsuit won’t succeed at slowing down the Select Committee’s investigation or stopping us from getting the information we’re seeking. The Select Committee will meet next week to advance a report recommending that the House cute Mr. Meadows for contempt of Congress and refer him to the Department of Justice for prosecution.”
Meadows was one of the first Trump administration officials to be subpoenaed back in late September, though his deposition was delayed as he engaged with the committee.
His lawyer cited concerns about executive privilege, which former President Donald Trump and his associates say should protect them from disclosing confidential communications–even though President Biden waived executive privilege claims in Meadows’ case.
Trump sued the committee in October to block the National Archives from releasing presidential records related to Jan. 6, and the U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C. Circuit ruled against him on Thursday.
According to Politico:
In his lawsuit, Meadows also levels a procedural complaint against the committee, noting that Pelosi rejected the appointment of two GOP members selected by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to serve on the panel. After Pelosi’s decision, McCarthy pulled his remaining appointees from the committee, leaving Pelosi’s picks as the only remaining members. Pelosi appointed two Republicans, Reps. Liz Cheney or Wyoming and Kinzinger, to the panel.
Meadows contends that McCarthy’s decision to withdraw his remaining picks left the panel without a ranking Republican appointee. Yet the committee’s subpoena authority requires that the ranking members be consulted on subpoena decisions.
“The ordering of Mr. Meadows’ deposition runs afoul of the Select Committee’s authorizing resolution, making it invalid and unenforceable,” Meadows contends.