Dec 14, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Texts: Trump Jr. pleaded to Meadows to have father condemn Jan. 6 attack

Photo of Donald Trump Jr looking to Donald Trump on his left
Donald Trump Jr. and former President Trump. Photo: Douglas P. DeFelice via Getty Images

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection unanimously approved a resolution Monday to recommend that former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows be held in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena.

Why it matters: The committee's focus on the former White House chief of staff brings them one step closer to the former president. Texts read aloud during the briefing hearing showed Donald Trump Jr. pleading with Meadows to have his father urge an end to the Capitol assault.

  • Rep. Liz Cheney(R-Wyo.), the vice chairwoman on the committee, read a series of texts from GOP lawmakers, Fox News personalities and Trump Jr., all pleading with Meadows to have the president urge an end to the Capitol assault.
  • “He’s got to condemn this shit ASAP,” Cheney read aloud from a text sent by Trump Jr. to Meadows. “The Capitol Police tweet is not enough."

“I'm pushing it hard. I agree,” Meadows replied, according to Cheney.

  • She read another text from Laura Ingraham, which said: “The president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home … he is destroying his legacy.”
  • Sean Hannity also texted Meadows on that day, writing: “Can he make a statement? ... Ask people to leave the Capitol?"

How we got here: The committee released a report Sunday outlining its recommendation to hold Meadows in contempt after he failed to appear before the panel last month. His attorney announced last week that Meadows believed he was protected by executive privilege and would no longer cooperate with the investigation.

  • The committee alleges in Sunday's report that the former chief of staff sent an email the day before the deadly riots telling an individual that the National Guard would be present to "protect pro Trump people."

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

  • The Justice Department formally charged Bannon with one count of criminal contempt for failing to appear for a deposition and another for refusing to hand over documents to Congress.
  • The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia is overseeing the criminal case.

What they're saying: "If you’re listening at home, Mr. Meadows, Mr. Bannon, Mr. Clark, I want you to know this: History will be written about these times, about the work this committee has undertaken. And history will not look upon any of you as a martyr," said Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), who chairs the panel.

  • "History will not look upon you as a victim. History will not dwell on your long list of privilege claims or your legal sleight of hand," the Democrat said, adding: "History will record that in a critical moment in our democracy, most people were on the side of finding the truth, of providing accountability, of strengthening our system for future generations. And history will also record, in this critical moment, that some people were not."
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