The challenge to a subpoena from the House committee looking into the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, by former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has been rejected by a federal judge.
In the beginning, Meadows gave the committee information on the attack through 1,000 emails and 2,300 texts. However, he later changed his mind and contested the subpoena on some grounds, such as executive privilege and whether a senior presidential aide could be forced to appear before Congress.
However, U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols decided Monday that summoning Meadows was appropriate for the committee. The Select Committee’s investigation into the attack on January 6, according to Nichols, who was chosen by Meadows’ superior, former President Donald Trump, “is without a doubt legitimately tied to Congress’s legislative function,” wrote Nichols.
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According to the record, the challenged subpoenas are clearly protected legislative acts under this test. One of twenty lawsuits that contested the legitimacy and power of the committee.
The panel’s legitimacy, however, has been upheld by judges at the district and appeals levels, and the Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge from President Trump to a subpoena for records from the National Archives and Records Administration.
Meadows could challenge the judgment. When contacted for comment, his attorney took some time to respond. Trump’s response to a committee subpoena, with deadlines for documents due on Friday and testimony owing on November 14, is expected on January 6.
Trump ex-Chief of Staff Mark Meadows’s lawsuit challenging the validity of Jan. 6 Committee subpoenas was dismissed by a federal judge https://t.co/3s4nd9KG4X
— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) November 1, 2022
On September 23, 2021, the panel served a subpoena on Meadows and his phone company, Verizon, requesting documents and testimony. Meadows could provide “critical information” about what Trump was doing on January 6, 2021, and the days before the riot, according to the chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi.
The committee wants to question Meadows regarding Trump’s attempts to install phony electors in states he lost, compel Vice President Mike Pence to acknowledge the phony electors, and oust Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen.
According to committee testimony, Meadows contacted state election officials in several states, including Georgia. On October 6, 2021, Trump used executive privilege—a legal tenet that protects the confidentiality of discussions between a president and his advisers—to prevent Meadows from testifying.
The ruling cuts both ways — the select committee repeatedly told Judge NIchols it didn’t want to assert “speech or debate” immunity. The panel wanted him to rule squarely on the issues of executive privilege.
But Nichols said he couldn’t. https://t.co/oH4kaIjWxC
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) November 1, 2022
However, Meadows was not granted presidential privilege or any other immunity by President Joe Biden. On December 8, 2021, Meadows filed a federal complaint. He claimed that the committee was ineligible because it had fewer members than the House had approved and no Republican nominees.
In addition, he claimed that the committee lacks a “valid legislative objective,” which is necessary for subpoenas. Meadows was found in contempt of the House by a vote. But unlike political strategist Steve Bannon and former trade adviser Peter Navarro, the Justice Department opted not to bring a criminal case against him for his defiance.
Nichols referred to Meadows’ challenges to House rules as “irrelevant” arguments. According to Nichols, meadows couldn’t challenge the subpoena because of the “speech and debate clause” in the Constitution. The clause typically protects parliamentarians’ speech while they are speaking in their official capacities.
A federal judge has thrown out Mark Meadows’ lawsuit over subpoenas from the Jan. 6 Committee, concluding that Meadows was constitutionally barred from bringing it in the first place. https://t.co/pT9oUUf7yl
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) November 1, 2022
Nichols cited precedents from appeals courts that concluded the clause protected all legislative actions, such as how committee members behaved and how subpoenas were issued. Representative’s warrants should be covered by the speech and debate clause, according to the House’s legal counsel. According to Nichols, Meadows didn’t make a “clear case that the immunity is inapplicable.”