Now that Stephen K. Bannon has surrendered, ranted and retaliated, and faced criminal charges of contempt of Congress, the attention of the House Special Committee on January 6 turned to Mark Meadows, President Trump’s last chief of staff, who finally followed Ban Nong’s footsteps even refused to attend the scheduled testimony or hand over the summoning documents.
Judging from the current war of words, there are differences between Meadows and the committee, and another criminal contempt of court is being heard.
Committee member Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank) said in “Meeting with the Media” on Sunday that Meadows’ stubbornness “almost forced us to take action…I believe we will take action against Mr. Meadows soon”. “
Meadows’ lawyer and former deputy prosecutor. General George Twilig wrote in the Washington Post last weekend that “the only way to solve the problem may be through the courts.”
On Tuesday, the chairman of the committee and Representative Benny Thompson (Miss Democrat) announced that he had written to Meadows: “We need to answer these questions.”
But Meadows’s case is very different from Bannon’s. Both he and the committee will lose a lot due to criminal referrals, which suggests that they may not have worked out a solution yet.
For the committee, a major disadvantage of criminal contempt charges is that they will not be able to access Meadows and his information. The crimes he is accused of will be determined by the Federal Court, and before the case is resolved, it is almost certain that after the commission takes effect on January 6, no one in Congress will interrogate him.
This is the price the committee is willing to pay for the chattering and aggressive Bannon. He issued a lot of public statements that the committee could use-remember his podcast classic on January 5, “It will break out tomorrow”?
This is not the case for Meadows. Since the rampage, he has been trying to stay away from the public eye. As Trump’s last main guardian, he may be the best known source of information about the former president’s actions, statements, communications, and emotions on January 6.and News reports indicate that Meadows himself may have been deeply involved Trying to find Trump’s votes in Georgia, and planning a rally that sparked congressional fire. The House committee does not want his evidence to be lost in criminal proceedings.
In addition, the committee cannot predict the outcome of criminal referrals. It does not know the details of the department’s decision to sue Bannon. Unlike Bannon, Meadows’ exchanges with Trump can be regarded as a strong candidate for the protection of administrative privileges. If the committee submits Meadows to the Department of Justice, the Department of Justice may evaluate Meadows’ criminal intent in a different way than Bannon.
Bannon’s prosecution was a victory for Congress’s investigative power (and the rule of law) after Trump took office, and congressional subpoenas were arbitrarily and successfully despised. If the Meadows recommender appeared in another way, it might label Congress again as a paper tiger.
If the committee has reason to avoid criminal referrals, so does Meadows. His demeanor is a far cry from Bannon’s casual style. He gets no benefit from his illegal status. It is not known whether he has the financial resources needed to fund criminal defense in federal courts. Moreover, after his White House job, he definitely hopes to have a future in the important DC professional circle. A criminal conviction for contempt of Congress would weaken even if it would not destroy these prospects.
As you can imagine, the committee is considering a civil contempt suit against Meadows. If it can be done quickly and successfully, it will be a strong choice: Meadows will go to jail and stay there until he complies with the committee’s subpoena.
Unfortunately, until recently, the Trump team was able to string together civil cases aimed at investigating the previous president for a year or more, effectively excluding civil options. Indeed, the Federal Court has been considering (and likely rejecting) Trump’s own case at lightning speed (relatively) in order to boycott the committee’s request for documentation. Despite this, Thompson and Co. is still unsure whether it will promptly file a civil contempt suit. The committee may find itself in the familiar quagmire of delay and obstruction.
Considering that Meadows might evade all his legal responsibilities in order to comply with extremely important congressional requirements, this is painful. But Meadows and the committee are caught in a chicken game in which everyone is at a major risk of losing something very valuable-Meadows’ freedom and livelihood, the committee’s key testimony. Sometimes the chicken game ends in spectacular crashes. Sometimes there will be an outright winner. More commonly, combatants will deviate from an all-or-nothing result. Looking for something similar to happen here.