Dec 8, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Mark Meadows sues Pelosi, Jan. 6 committee

Photo of Mark Meadows in a mask speaking with reporters
Then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows speaks with reporters after a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Nov. 18, 2020. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows sued House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and all nine members of the Jan. 6 select committee on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The move comes less than a day after the committee moved to hold Meadows in contempt for refusing to cooperate with its investigation of the Capitol riots.

Details: The lawsuit asks the court to toss out two of the panel's subpoenas, which were issued to Meadows and Verizon, the carrier for his previous personal cell phone.

  • Citing Trump's claims of executive privilege, the filing calls the subpoenas "overly broad and unduly burdensome."
  • "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 says.

The other side: "It strikes me as another frivolous effort to impede the work of the committee," said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who sits on the Jan. 6 panel.

  • "What’s driving his about-face I don’t know ... It leaves us no choice but to move forward with contempt."
  • "The committee has received a number of extremely interesting non-privileged documents from Mr. Meadows," Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), vice chair of the committee, noted.
  • "The key thing to understand is, having produced these exceptionally interesting, non-privileged documents that are directly relevant to what President Trump should’ve been doing on Jan. 6, texts and emails from his private cellphone, his personal email account, he is now refusing to testify."
  • "He has an obligation to answer the questions," she added.

The big picture: Meadows is the third person to face contempt proceedings from the panel after former White House strategist Steve Bannon and former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark.

  • Trump filed his own lawsuit against the committee after Biden waived executive privilege of his White House records.
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