Mark Meadows Sought to Fight Election Outcome, Jan. 6 Panel Says
WASHINGTON — The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol released a report on Sunday that laid out its case for a contempt of Congress charge against Mark Meadows, the chief of staff to former President Donald J. Trump, presenting evidence of Mr. Meadows’s deep involvement in the effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
In the 51-page document, the committee said it wanted to question Mr. Meadows about an email he had sent a day before the attack advising that the National Guard would be used to defend Trump supporters. The panel said it also wanted to ask him about an exchange with an unnamed senator about rejecting electors for Joseph R. Biden Jr.
Mr. Meadows had been cooperating with the committee’s investigation, but he refused to appear for a scheduled deposition last week or to turn over additional documents, citing Mr. Trump’s assertion of executive privilege. The committee, which is controlled by Democrats, is slated to vote on Monday to recommend a contempt of Congress charge against him for his refusal to cooperate with its subpoena. That charge carries a penalty of up to a year in jail.
Before coming to loggerheads with the panel, Mr. Meadows provided more than 9,000 pages of records to the committee. The information they contained raised additional questions, the panel said.
Among the emails and text messages that Mr. Meadows turned over were the following, the panel said:
A Nov. 7 email that discussed an attempt to arrange with state legislators to appoint slates of pro-Trump electors instead of the Biden electors chosen by the voters. Mr. Meadows’s text messages also showed him asking members of Congress how to put Mr. Trump in contact with state legislators.
Text messages Mr. Meadows exchanged with an unidentified senator in which he recounted Mr. Trump’s view on Vice President Mike Pence’s ability to reject electors from certain states. Mr. Trump “thinks the legislators have the power, but the VP has power too,” Mr. Meadows wrote.
A Jan. 5 email in which Mr. Meadows said the National Guard would be present at the Capitol on Jan. 6 to “protect pro Trump people.”
Emails from Mr. Meadows to Justice Department officials on Dec. 29, Dec. 30 and Jan. 1 in which he encouraged investigations of voter fraud, including allegations already rejected by federal investigators and courts.
Text messages Mr. Meadows exchanged with members of Congress as violence engulfed the Capitol on Jan. 6 in which lawmakers encouraged him to persuade Mr. Trump to discourage the attack, as well as a text message sent to one of the president’s family members in which Mr. Meadows said he was “pushing hard” for Mr. Trump to “condemn this.”
Text messages reflecting Mr. Meadows’s private skepticism about some of the wild public statements about allegations of widespread election fraud and compromised voting machines that were put forth by Sidney Powell, a lawyer working with Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer.
The committee also said it had a number of questions prompted by Mr. Meadows’s new book, “The Chief’s Chief,” and cited it as evidence that his refusal to testify was “untenable.”
“Mr. Meadows has shown his willingness to talk about issues related to the Select Committee’s investigation across a variety of media platforms — anywhere, it seems, except to the Select Committee,” the panel wrote.
The committee said it also had questions about why Mr. Meadows had used a personal cellphone, a Signal account and two personal Gmail accounts to conduct official business, and whether he had properly turned over all records from those accounts to the National Archives.
The report comes as the committee is scrutinizing a 38-page PowerPoint document containing plans to overturn Mr. Biden’s victory. That document, which Mr. Meadows provided to the committee, urged Mr. Trump to declare a national emergency to cling to power and included an unsupported claim that China and Venezuela had obtained control over the voting infrastructure in a majority of states.
Mr. Meadows’s lawyer has said he provided the document to the committee because he had received it by email and did nothing with it.
Phil Waldron, a retired Army colonel who has promoted false claims of election fraud, said that he had circulated the document among Mr. Trump’s allies and among lawmakers on Capitol Hill in the days before the mob violence. Mr. Giuliani has identified Mr. Waldron as a source of information for his legal campaign.
Mr. Waldron told The Washington Post that he had visited the White House several times after last year’s election and spoken with Mr. Meadows “maybe eight to 10 times.”
Emily Cochrane contributed reporting.