Updated Apr 30, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Mark Meadows claims Jan. 6 committee seeks to "vilify" him

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in Congress in February 2021.

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in Congress in February 2021. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

Lawyers for Mark Meadows alleged in a court filing on Friday that the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol is seeking to "vilify" him publicly by leaking his text messages to the press.

Why it matters: A recent massive leak of his text messages from CNN gave a raw glimpse into how Trump’s inner circle, congressional Republicans and conservative media figures reacted to the results of the 2020 election, the violence on Jan. 6 and its aftermath.

  • It has not been revealed how CNN and other media outlets that have published similar leaks obtained Meadows' text messages, which he provided to the select committee before he ceased his cooperation with its investigation.

The new filing is tied to Meadows' lawsuit to nullify the select committee's subpoenas against him to compel him to testify and against Verizon, the carrier for his previous personal cellphone.

  • In the filing, Meadows' lawyers asked a judge to reject the select committee's request for an expedited ruling on whether he can be forced to comply with its subpoena.
  • The House voted in December to hold Meadows, former White House chief of staff, in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with the subpoena.

What they're saying: "The Congressional Defendants, under the auspices of a legitimate subpoena, induced Mr. Meadows to produce thousands of his private communications only to use them in a concerted and ongoing effort to vilify him publicly through the media," it reads.

  • “The Select Committee’s true political motivations are demonstrated by accusation, innuendo and speculation included in its filings, which are transparently intended to vilify Mr. Meadows—mostly, if not entirely, on matters that are irrelevant to the issues presented."

The big picture: The more than 2,300 texts obtained by CNN show how the White House and a network of Trump associates, Fox hosts and lawmakers strategized to overturn the election, pleaded with former President Trump to call for an end to the violence on Jan. 6, then quickly adapted their support for Trump after the riot.

  • The unauthorized leaks have undercut the Jan. 6 committee's intentional effort to build suspense for its upcoming televised hearings on its findings, Axios' Alayna Treene reports.

Go deeper: Lawmakers met with Meadows on election schemes, ex-aide testifies

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