On Wednesday, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows sued House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and all nine members of the U.S. House Select Committee on the Jan. 6 incursion into the Capitol, claiming that they are exceeding their constitutional authority.
The committee has subpoenaed Meadows to testify and his cell provider, Verizon, to turn over phone records for the months leading up to the end of former President Donald Trump’s term until the end of January.
Meadows’ attorney sent a letter to the committee chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, on Tuesday, saying his client would no longer cooperate with the committee’s investigation, given it appears to have “no intention of respecting the boundaries concerning Executive Privilege” and the “wide ranging” subpoena of his phone records would include “intensely personal” and potentially “privileged” communications.
According to Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute, “Executive privilege is the power of the president and other officials in the executive branch to withhold certain forms of confidential communication from the courts and the legislative branch.”
Thompson responded to Meadows’ attorney Tuesday, noting his client’s failure to appear to be deposed and writing, “There is no legitimate legal basis for Mr. Meadows to refuse to cooperate.”
“The Select Committee is left with no choice but to advance contempt proceedings and recommend that the body in which Mr. Meadows once served refer him for criminal prosecution,” the congressman concluded.
Meadows’ lawsuit, filed in the federal district court for the District of Columbia, the same day as Thompson’s letter, states the subpoenas directed at the former chief of staff and Verizon are “overly broad and unduly burdensome.”
“For months, Mr. Meadows has consistently sought in good faith to pursue an accommodation with the Select Committee whereby it could obtain relevant, non-privileged information,” the complaint says.
“While the Committee and Mr. Meadows engaged over a period of time in an effort to achieve such reasonable accommodation, the Select Committee adamantly refused to recognize the immunity of present and former senior White House aides from being compelled to appear before Congress and likewise refused to recognize a former president’s claims of Executive Privilege and instructions to Mr. Meadows to maintain such privilege claims in addressing the Select Committee’s inquiries.”
The complaint further states that President Joe Biden purportedly has waived former Trump’s claims of executive privilege and immunity.
As a sidebar, how Biden can waive Trump’s right to executive privilege is odd.
Meadows’ lawsuit points out the quandary that puts him in, and hence his decision to go to federal court.
“Mr. Meadows, a witness, has been put in the untenable position of choosing between conflicting privilege claims that are of constitutional origin and dimension and having to either risk enforcement of the subpoena issued to him, not merely by the House of Representatives, but through actions by the Executive and Judicial Branches, or, alternatively, unilaterally abandoning the former president’s claims of privileges and immunities,” the complaint states.
“Thus, Mr. Meadows turns to the courts to say what the law is.”
In addition to Pelosi and Thompson, Meadows’ lawsuit also names anti-Trump Republican Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, as well as the other Democratic representatives on the committee like Trump impeachment “stars” Reps. Adam Schiff of California and Jamie Raskin of Maryland.
Meadows is expected to get a fair shake from that gang? Not likely at all.
Concerning the phone records subpoena, Meadows told Fox News on Wednesday, “It was so broad that you would have to do some type of legislative contortions to find a legislative reason for that subpoena.”
Attorney John Eastman, whose phone records have also been subpoenaed by the Jan. 6 committee, told Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Tuesday, “They want to track Americans’ thinking. They want to know who your contacts are. They want to know who you were communicating with about election integrity.”
CNN reported that the committee has subpoenaed the phone records of over 100 people, many of whom are former Trump officials and associates.
The outlet said the subpoenas went out to 35 social media and telecommunication companies, including Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, US Cellular and Sprint.
Carlson highlighted that many of the records are for people, like Meadows and Eastman, who have been accused of no crime.
Meadows is right to sue Pelosi and her hand-picked crew of Trump derangement syndrome sufferers.
The federal judge should block enforcement of these overly broad subpoenas and put the rogue lawmakers back in their place.