Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows sent an email saying the National Guard would be present to ‘protect pro Trump people’ in the lead up to the US Capitol insurrection, according to a new report released by the January 6 committee Sunday night.
It was just one of several new details in the report about Meadows’ actions before and during January 6, as well as his role in attempting to overturn the 2020 election. The report is a key component for the committee to send a referral for charges of criminal contempt of Congress to the Justice Department. The panel informed Meadows last week that it had “no choice” but to advance criminal contempt proceedings against him given that he had decided to no longer cooperate with their investigation.
The panel will meet Monday to formally advance the report to the full floor House vote as soon as later this week. The vote by the full House is the last step before sending the referral to the DOJ.
The report is a key component for the committee to send a referral for charges of criminal contempt of Congress to the Justice Department. The panel will meet Monday to formally advance the report to the full floor House vote as soon as later this week. The vote by the full House is the last step before sending the referral to the DOJ.
Meadows’ lawyer asked the panel Monday to reconsider its plans. In a letter to the committee, Meadows’ attorney George Terwilliger III said the “contemplated referral would be contrary to law” because his client is a senior official who made a “good-faith invocation of executive privilege and testimonial immunity.”
“A referral of a senior presidential aide would also be unwise because it would do great damage to the institution of the Presidency, as restraint in the application of the statute over time attests,” Terwilliger wrote.
Terwilliger said that Meadows’ choice to decline a deposition is an attempt to comply with his “legal obligations” as a former Trump adviser. “History and the law teach that this attempt is not a crime,” Terwilliger wrote.
Terwilliger also suggests the committee should allow the civil lawsuit Meadows filed against the committee to play out before moving to contempt – because a ruling in that case would resolve the questions surrounding privilege that are in dispute.
The committee notes that in one email Meadows sent to an individual about January 6, he said that “the National Guard would be present to ‘protect pro Trump people’ and that many more would be available on standby,” according to the report. The new documents come as Meadows’ role is under renewed scrutiny following his decision to cease cooperating with the committee last week.
Committee chairman Bennie Thompson appeared to allude to this January 5 email about having the National Guard on standby in a letter to Meadows’ attorney last week informing him that the panel would move forward with contempt proceedings.
Thompson also referred to a November 7, 2020, email discussing the appointment of alternate slates of electors as part of a “direct and collateral attack” and a January 5 email that had a 38-page PowerPoint briefing titled “Election Fraud, Foreign Interference & Options for 6 JAN” to be provided “on the hill.”
Meadows, according to the report, “received text messages and emails regarding apparent efforts to encourage Republican legislators in certain States to send alternate slates of electors to Congress, a plan which one Member of Congress acknowledged was ‘highly controversial’ and to which Mr. Meadows responded, ‘I love it.’”
“Mr. Meadows responded to a similar message by saying ‘[w]e are’ and another such message by saying ‘Yes. Have a team on it,’” the report said.
Additionally, the committee notes that Meadows “exchanged text messages with, and provided guidance to, an organizer of the January 6th rally on the Ellipse after the organizer told him that ‘[t]hings have gotten crazy and I desperately need some direction.’”
If Meadows was still cooperating, the committee also said it would inquire about a text exchange with a media personality “who had encouraged the presidential statement asking people to, quote, ‘peacefully leave the Capitol,’” as well as a text sent “to one of— by one of the President’s family members indicating that Mr. Meadows is, quote, ‘pushing hard,’ end quote, for a statement from President Trump to, quote, ‘condemn this shit,’ end quote, happening at the Capitol.”
The committee has previously sought communications between Meadows and certain rally organizers as the panel remains focused on identifying any level of coordination with the Trump White House. The report goes on to note that Meadows was directly involved in efforts to overturn the election results in key swing states Trump lost and helped push unfounded claims about voter fraud.
“Mr. Meadows participated in meetings and calls during which the participants reportedly discussed the need to ”fight” back against ”mounting evidence” of purported voter fraud after courts had considered and overwhelmingly rejected Trump campaign claims of voter fraud and other election irregularities,” it says.
“He participated in one such meeting in the Oval Office with Mr. Trump and Members of Congress, which he publicly tweeted about from his personal Twitter account shortly after. He participated in another such call just days before the January 6 attack with Mr. Trump, Members of Congress, attorneys for the Trump re-election campaign, and ‘some 300’ State and local officials to discuss the goal of overturning certain States’ electoral college results on January 6, 2021,” the report adds.
In response to the panel’s push for criminal contempt proceedings, Meadows filed a lawsuit against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and select committee members, asking a federal court to block enforcement of the subpoena the committee issued him as well as the subpoena it issued to Verizon for his phone records.
Meadows alleges that the subpoenas are “overly broad and unduly burdensome,” while claiming that the committee “lacks lawful authority to seek and to obtain” the information requested.
Still, prior to Meadows’ decision to halt cooperation with the committee, he had turned over approximately 6,000 pages worth of documents. That includes information from his personal email account and personal cell phone that are relevant to the committee’s investigation.
This story has been updated with additional information Monday.
CNN’s Ryan Nobles contributed to this report.