Meadows: Jan. 6 contempt vote is about "going after" Donald Trump
Mark Meadows defended his and former President's Trump's actions around the Jan. 6 insurrection, telling Fox News' Sean Hannity they did nothing "nefarious" and wanted to make sure "everything was safe and secure."
The state of play: “This is not about me, holding me in contempt. It’s not even about making the Capitol safer,” Meadows told Hannity, hours after the House select committee investigating Jan. 6 unanimously approved a resolution to recommend that he be held in contempt of Congress. “This is about Donald Trump and about actually going after him once again.”
- Rep. Liz Cheney, the vice chairwoman on the committee, read a series of texts from GOP lawmakers, Fox News personalities, including Hannity, and the president's son, Donald Trump Jr., all pleading with Meadows to have the president urge an end to the Capitol assault.
- Hannity did not ask Meadows about the texts from Trump Jr. or others and did not mention the message he had sent the former chief of staff.
- “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.
- Cheney also read a text from Hannity to Meadows on that day, writing: “Can he make a statement?...Ask people to leave the Capitol?"
How we got here: Meadows had initially handed over thousands of records, including the text exchanges, according to lawmakers. But his attorney announced last week that Meadows believed he was protected by executive privilege and would no longer cooperate with the investigation.
- “When the records raise questions — as these most certainly do — you have to come in and answer those questions,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), who chairs the select committee.
- “And when it was time for him to follow the law, come in, and testify on those questions, he changed his mind and told us to pound sand. He didn’t even show up,” Thompson added.
The committee released a report on Sunday outlining its recommendation to hold Meadows in contempt after he failed to appear before the panel last month.
- 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."
- 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.