The move comes as he takes heat from Donald Trump allies for writing a book that addresses the former president’s vulnerability while battling Covid.
Mark Meadows, the former chief of staff to Donald Trump, has pulled out of a tentative cooperation agreement with the Hill’s Jan. 6 investigators, suggesting through his lawyer that the select committee on the Capitol riot planned to ask him about matters he considers off-limits because of executive privilege.
Meadows’ attorney, George Terwilliger III, revealed the decision in comments to Fox News on Tuesday morning. The select panel must now decide whether to hold Meadows in contempt of Congress and seek potential criminal charges against him.
Meadows’ about-face follows weeks of seesawing talks with the committee. It also arrives amid frustration inside Trump world about Meadows’ public discussion of Trump’s positive Covid test during the 2020 campaign. Meadows described Trump’s health in stark and worrying terms, noting his diminished oxygen levels and weakness as he battled the virus.
The Jan. 6 panel’s chair, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), threatened to hold Meadows in contempt of Congress last month, shortly after Terwilliger took to The Washington Post to blast the Jan. 6 panel for refusing to acknowledge his client’s assertions of executive privilege shielding his interactions with Trump.
The committee has emphasized that only President Joe Biden has the authority to assert privilege to protect executive branch communications. But Biden has indicated he won’t do so in Meadows’ case because he considers the Jan. 6 investigation crucial to national security.
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