tv Jan. 6 Committee Considers Holding Mark Meadows in Contempt CSPAN December 13, 2021 7:01pm-7:51pm EST
during that time. i wanted to call in. i was a substitute over several districts. all of them were title i schools. i was noticing, i forgot that the very first >> we will take you live to a meeting with members of the house committee investigating the january 6 attack on the u.s. capitol. the committee is considering citing former white house chief of staff mark meadows for criminal contempt of congress for refusing to cooperate with the investigation. live coverage on c-span.
>> the select committee to investigate the january 6 attack on the united states capital will be in order. they are meeting this evening to consider the report on the resolution recommending the house of representatives find mark randolph meadows in contempt of congress for refusal to comply with the subpoena duly issued by the select committee to investigate the january 6 attack of the united states capital. the chair is authorized to declare the committee in recess. on our recognize myself for an opening statement. my statement on behalf of the committee, offering condolences and prayers to the people in kentucky and surrounding states on the devastation that they received during the tornadoes.
our hearts and prayers go out to all of those impacted. this week, i expect roughly a dozen key witnesses will provide testimony on the record in our investigation. we will hear from many more informally as we continue to give the facts about the violence of january 6. it puts us well north of the 300 mark in terms of witnesses who have given us in nation. add to that more than 30,000 records and nearly 250 sustaining tips on our temp line , and anyone listening at home tonight. if you have any information you want to share with us, you can find our tip line on the select committee's website on january6.house.gov.
house has ruled in our favor regarding the select committee's work to uncover relevant information. and a today, we're getting a clearer picture of what happened , who was involved, and who paid for it. and where the money went. i am pleased to report that we are making progress. before too long, our findings will be out in the open. other carriers will tell the story to the american people. but we won't do it piecemeal. we will do it when we can tell the story all at once, not leaving anyone guessing and not allowing it to fade into the memories of last week's news. this story is too important. the stakes are too high. we have to do this job right. and that means we have to address the handful of outliers appropriately.
that is why we're are here this evening. the select committee's report referring to criminal contempt charges is clear and compelling. as white house chief of staff, mr. meadows later role and was witness to key events leading up to and including the january 6 assault on the u.s. capitol. don't let lawsuits or op-ed bids about executive privilege of mr. meadows or his representatives confuse you. it comes down to this. mr. meadows started by doing the right thing, cooperating. he handed over records and in an investigation like ours, that is just the first step. when the records raised questions as these most certainly do, you have to come in and answer those questions. and when it is time for him to
follow the law, to come in and testify, he changed his mind. and told us to pound sand. he didn't even show up. this happened the same day his book was published. the same book that goes into detail about matters of the select committee that they are reviewing. it is also conversations we want to hear more about. he also appeared on national television to discuss the events of january 6. he had no creditable excuse for stonewalling the select committee's investigation. we asked that we not hold his client in criminal contempt. without objection, that letter will be made part of the record.
a small group of people have gotten a lot of attention because of their defiance. many others have taken a different path and provided important information about january 6 in the context in which the riot occurred. if anyone who wants to cooperate with our investigation can do so, nearly everyone has. our democracy was inches from ruin. our system of government was stretched to the breaking point. members and staff were terrorized. police officers fought hand-to-hand for hours and people lost their lives. the select committee saw firsthand what our brave capitol police had to endure and heard them say. had it not been for the timely
arrival, they would have gotten on the nose what the outcome would've been if that had occurred. we want to figure out why and share that information with the american people. and you you're on the side of helping us, or you are trying to stop us from getting those answers. you can parade out whatever argument you want, but that is all there is to it. in real life, there are not a lot of bright light moments. this is one of them. if you are listening at home mr. meadows, mr. bannon, mr. clark, i want you to know this. history will be written about these times. about the work this committee has undertaken. in history will not look on any of you as martyrs. history will not look upon you as a victim. history will not dwell on your long list of privilege claims for your legal sleight-of-hand.
history will record that in a critical moment in our democracy, most people were on the side of finding the truth or providing accountability, strengthening our system for future generations. in history will also record in this critical moment that some people hid behind excuses and went to great lengths to avoid answering questions and explaining what they had done and what they knew. i predict that history won't be kind to those people. what is especially jarring about the referral we are considering tonight is that mr. meadows was a member of this body for more than seven years. he was a leading voice in certain corners. he was the ranking member of the oversight and reform committee. it is not hard to locate records of his time in the house and find mr. meadows of indignation.
at the time, the administration wasn't cooperating with the congressional investigation to his satisfaction. whatever legacy he thought he left in the house, this is his legacy now. colleagues singling him out for criminal prosecution because he wouldn't answer questions about what he knows about a brutal attack on our democracy. that is his legacy. but he hasn't left us any choice. mr. meadows put himself in this situation and he must now accept the consequences. so i will support the select committee's adoption of this proposal, recommending the house find mark randall meadows in contempt of congress and refer him to the department of justice and prosecution. i now yield to a distinguished leader of the select committee for any opening remarks she may
care to make. >> we are here to address a very serious matter. contempt of congress by a former chief of staff, the former president of the united states. we do not do this lightly and we had hoped not to take this step at all. for weeks, as the chairman noted, we worked with mr. meadows counsel to reach an agreement on cooperation. shortly before this deposition, mr. meadows walked away from his commitment to appear and informed us he would no longer cooperate. we believe mr. meadows is improperly asserting executive and other privileges, but this contempt today relates principally to mr. meadows refusal to testify about text messages and other communications that he admits are not privileged. he has not claimed and does not
have any privileged basis to review entirely to testify regarding these topics. let me give just three examples. first, president trump's failure to stop the violence. on january 6, our capitol building was attacked and invaded. the mob was summoned to washington by president trump. and if any of those involved had admitted on videotape and social media and in federal district court, they were provoked to violence by president trump's false claims the election was stolen. the violence was evident to all. it was covered in real-time by almost every news channel. but for 100 87 minutes, president trump refused to act. when action by our president was required, essential, and compelled by his oath to our
constitution, mr. meadows received numerous text messages that he produced without any privileged claim, imploring that mr. trump take the specific action that we all knew his duty required. these text messages leave no doubt that the white house knew exactly what was happening here at the capital. members of congress, the press, and others, wrote to mark meadows as the attack was underway. one text mr. meadows received, "you are under siege at the capital." another, "they have breached the capital." and a third, "mark, protesters are storming the capital breaking windows on doors, rushing in. is trump going to say something? "
"there is an armed standoff at the house chamber door. and another from someone inside the capital. "we are all helpless." dozens of texts including from trump administration officials urged immediate action by the president. "potus has to come out firmly and tell the protesters to dissipate. someone is going to get killed. in another, mark, he needs to stop this now. "tell them to go home." potus needs to calm this shit down. indeed, according to the records, multiple fox news hosts knew the president needed to act immediately. they texted mr. meadows and he
turned over those text. "mark, the president needs to tell the people in the capital to go home. this is hurting all of us. he is destroying his legacy," laura ingraham wrote. "please get him on tv. destroying everything you have accomplished. can he make a statement asking people to leave the capital?" sean hannity urged. one of the president's sons texted mr. meadows saying, he's got to condemn this shit asap. the capitol police tweet is not enough. meadows responded. i am pushing it hard. i agree. still, president trump did not immediately act.
donald trump, jr. texted again and again, urging action by the president. "we need an oval office address. he has to leave now. it has gone too far and gotten out of hand." but hours passed without necessary action by the president. these non-privileged text are further evidence of president trump's supreme dereliction of duty during those 187 minutes. and mr. meadows testimony will bear on another key question before this committee. did donald trump, through action or inaction, corruptly seek to obstruct or impede congress's official proceedings to count electoral votes? mark meadows testimony is necessary to inform our legislative judgments.
if he has refused to give any testimony at all, even regarding nonprivileged topics, he is in contempt of congress. mr. meadows also has knowledge regarding president trump's efforts to persuade state officials to alter their official election results. in georgia, for instance, mr. meadows participated in a phone call between president trump and georgia secretary of state raffensperger. meadows was on the phone when president trump asked the secretary of state to "find 11,780 votes to change the results of the presidential election in georgia." we know from the texts that he had been talking to other participants on the call. mr. meadows has no conceivable privileged basis to refuse to testify on this topic.
he is in contempt of congress. in the weeks before january six, president trump's appointees at the justice department informed him repeatedly that the president's claims of election fraud were not supported by the evidence and that the election was not, in fact, stolen. president trump intended to appoint jeffrey clark as attorney general. in part so that mr. clark could alter the department of justice conclusions regarding the election. mr. clark has informed the committee that he anticipates potential criminal prosecution related to these matters and intense, in upcoming testimony, to invoke his fifth amendment privilege against self-incrimination. as mr. meadows non-privileged texts reveal, he indicated multiple times that he was
working with mr. clark. he has no basis to refuse to testify. he is in contempt. january 6 was without precedent. there has been no stronger case in our nations history into the actions of a former president. this investigation is not like other congressional inquiries. the constitution, the structure of institutions, and the rule of law which are at the heart of what makes america great are at stake. we cannot be satisfied with incomplete answers or half-truths. and we cannot surrender to president trump's effort to hide what happened. we will be persistent, professional, and nonpartisan. and we will get to the objective truth to ensure that january 6 never happens again.
>> i now call up the report on a resolution recommending that the house of representatives find mark randall meadows in contempt of congress for refusal to comply with the subpoena duly issued by the select committee to investigate the january 6 attack on the united states capital. the report was circulated in advance and printing copies are available. the clerk shall designate the report. >> finding mark randall meadows in contempt of congress for refusal to comply with a subpoena duly issued by the subcommittee to investigate the january 6 attack on the united states capital. >> without objection, the report will be considered as read and open to amendment at any point. the chair recognizes the
gentleman from california, ms. loftin. >> i knew and served with mark meadows when he was in the house and we got along reasonably well when he was here, although we certainly didn't agree on many policy matters. i wished him well when he left congress to serve as the chief of staff. it is shocking that we now have to face the fact that mr. meadows admits he played both an official and unofficial role trying to undermine the results of the 2020 presidential election. this committee's job is to find out about that plot. and to propose legislative changes to prevent something like that from ever happening again. it has been reported that during
the lead up to january 6, the white house was directing the department of justice to investigate crazy conspiracies to try to cede doubt about the election and that is the predicate for overturning of the election and the replacement of electors. this was to benefit mr. trump's effort to overturn the election. we need to talk to mark meadows about that. the vice chair has mentioned, mr. meadows made a surprise visit to the state run audit in georgia which preceded the infamous call where she resided. we need to talk to mark meadows about that. mr. meadows interacted with a lot of people, allegedly including some of our own
colleagues on the day of the violent attack. we know many of those interactions to laze on a personal cell phone device. we need to ask mark meadows about that. mr. meadows himself has acknowledged that he has responsive and non-privileged documents and communications. he sent some of them to us and filed others in court. it certainly appears mr. meadows played a key role in events that culminated in the violent attack on the capital and on our democracy. he has important information about those events and he must follow the law and cooperate with his committee's lawful request or face the consequences. as much as we might personally like mr. meadows, we have to take this action today because no one is above the law. thank you, mr. chairman.
>> the gentlelady yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from illinois, mr. can singer -- mr. king singer -- mr. kinsinger. >> this is a near unique moment in history as we vote to hold a former colleague in contempt of congress. the last time that happened was 1832. mark meadows has committed a crime. in this case, a premeditated one. he thought carefully about his actions and actively chose to stonewall, which you can clearly see in this back-and-forth with the select committee. he produced 9000 pages of documents from his time in the white house and after his former boss made it clear his disappointment and displeasure, he did a 180 and refused to answer even a single question from his former colleagues or even to show up at all. this constitutes legal contempt. but also personal contempt.
his actions demonstrate his contempt for congress in -- and the select committee, for his former colleagues, and for the integrity of the democratic process. he has rejected this committee's investigation so it is time to see if the department of justice can be more persuasive. no one is above the law, not even a former president's chief of staff. he can't climb to tell the story to congress and on the same day published part of that story in a book to line his pockets. he can't declined to answer any questions on the many nonprivileged documents he produced to us. he can't un-speak what he has said and call it privileged after the fact. it is perfectly conceivable that portions of what the chief of staff knows the subject to presidential privilege,
shielding it from disclosure. but not everything he knew or did during that period is privileged. he knows that. that's why he sent us that. that's why he made his book possible. to show up for deposition and discuss what the answer was, and whether or not that answer was privileged from disclosure. he has failed to comply with the measure of congress stated plainly on the face of the select committee subpoena. contempt for congress now forces us to take this action. thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from california. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to pick up where mr. kinsinger left off.
9000 records privilege. none -- 9000 records in which he has asserted no claim of privilege. none. between election day and the end of the former president's term in office. these documents are struck by messages that come from lawmakers who were sending them to mr. meadows in the days around january 6. a time he is now saying he won't discuss with the committee. i want to display a few of the messages he received from people. our investigation is ongoing. on january 6, 2021, vice president mike pence should call out all electoral votes that he
believes are unconstitutional as no electoral vault at all -- votes at all. you can see this is why it is so critical to ask mr. meadows about. are the lawmakers suggesting the former vice president simply throw out votes that he unilaterally deems unconstitutional. in order to overturn the presidential election and subvert the will of the american people? it is another as the riot was ongoing. and if we could cue the second graphic. the president needs to stop this asap. on the sixth, mr. meadows received dozens and dozens of panicked messages like this one from lawmakers. from people watching at home, begging that the president of the united states do something to stop the violence. these are things i -- that our
cries for help. what did he do? and what are the president of the united states do? and what did he fail to do? mr. meadows doesn't think he should have to answer those questions. he wants the american people to be left in the dark. this is the last message i want to highlight from a lawmaker in the aftermath of january 6. graphic number three. yesterday was a terrible day. we tried everything we could to object to the six states. i'm sorry nothing worked. a day after a failed attempt to stop the peaceful transfer of power, unelected lawmaker tells the white house chief of staff i'm sorry nothing worked. that is chilling. we would like to ask mr. meadows what he thought about that.
we need to try stronger to enforce congressional subpoenas. but in the absence of those changes, we will use the tools that we have and i expect the justice department to move as swiftly in dealing with mr. meadows as it did with mr. bannon bannon and prosecute himr violating the law and his duty as a citizen. i support advancing this contempt referral, and i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california, mr. aguilar. >> last tuesday, the select committee received a memo from mr. meadows' lawyers saying his client's appearances had become untenable. something else happened last tuesday. the chief's chief hit the bookstores, mr. meadows' memoir. this is a witness who is
refusing to comply with the law and answer our questions in part because he says the former president has instructed him to do so. he says he was the chief of staff and couldn't disclose, his conversations with the president, but let's take a look at the book. this is from a section dealing with the january 6 rally at the ellipse. i am not going to read the whole thing because we know what the president said publicly that day, but i want to read this part. when he got off stage, president trump let me know he had been speaking metaphorically about the walk to the capital. he knew we couldn't organize a trip like that on such short notice. it is interesting because the select committee has a lot of interest in what the president said and did on january 6. we have a lot of questions about the protests that day and how they escalated into a riot, and mark meadows says he can't
disclose those details to us. apparently, he can put them in his book. weeks after january 6, stir meadows discussed his interactions with the president in an interview with laura ingraham. she asked, at any time did the president of the united states seek to interfere with the vote counting of legitimate votes of the election? he was happy to answer her question. fast-forward to last week, mr. meadows was back on tv discussing conversations with the president about security concerns on january 6. we had questions about that, too. we had questions about his emails focused on protecting "pro-trump people." he shared details about his interactions with the former president with laura and graham. he will share the details with sean hannity. he will share the details with
anybody who will shell off $25 for his book, but in the face of a lawful subpoena as we work to get answers for the american people, the only thing mr. meadows will share our his excuses. we do not accept his excuses. he must be held accountable. thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from florida, misses murphy. >> thank you, mr. chairman. in a few minutes i will vote to recommend that the house of find former has chief of staff mark does in contempt for failing to comply with our subpoena for documents related to the january 6 attack. mr. meadows was a central participant in the events that culminated in this assault on our country and core democratic values. to create the most accurate account of what occurred, why it occurred and what steps we can take to prevent it from happening again, our committee
needs to hear from mr. meadows. supreme court once observed that a subpoena is not "an incident a she and to a game of heron hounds where a witness must testify if only cornered at the end of the chase." as detailed in the report, it is clear to any reasonable observer that mr. meadows has treated this committee's request for relevant information as if it were a game. to read the record how he responded to our subpoenas in september is to come away exasperated and enraged. any regular citizen who flouted a congressional or court subpoena like mr. meadows would have faced serious legal challenges and consequences and rightly so. this is not a witness who has acted in good faith, generally willing to tell his side of the story, while declining to disclose certain information. mr. meadows initially delayed, resisted, and made on reasonable
arguments, failed to produce documents in a timely fashion, and refused to appear for a scheduled disappearance -- deposition. then he had a change of heart, leading to the production of about 9000 emails and text messages, and then he reversed course yet again, categorically refusing to be deposed about what the documents reveal. mr. meadows' tactics have wasted the committee's time and taxpayer resources. he's left us with inadequate information about what he knows and hindered our effort to find the truth. the documents mr. meadows ultimately turned over raise as many questions as they answer. for example, the documents confirm that mr. meadows used personal gmail accounts and a personal cell phone to conduct official business and to send medications related to january
6, and he also used signal, the private messenger application. had mr. meadows been deposed, the committee would have asked him about his handling of official government records, a topic not subject to any legal privilege. this is a critical line of inquiry. we need to know if mr. meadows did not properly preserve all of his emails, texts and messages and provide them to the national archives as required by law. our committee has requested and will hopefully receive a wide range of trump administration records from the national archives. we need to know whether the universe of records is complete and comprehensive. understanding mr. meadows' compliance will help to ensure our committee ultimately receives all of the relevant documents we are entitled to review as part of our fact-finding mission. as a result of his actions and in action, mr. meadows is clearly in contempt of congress
and should be referred to the department of justice for criminal prosecution. i yield back. >> the gentlelady yields back. the chair recognizes mr. raskin. >> mr. meadows' sudden vanishing act is intolerable to the rule of law and the work of our committee. imagine how our justice system would a breakdown if any witness could decide to stop cooperating midway through a proceeding. the 9000 pages mr. meadows has produced in disclose documents without asserting privilege put him in the thick of the action with donald trump as the capitol was overrun by violent secessionists and donald trump tried to exert coercive pressure on vice president pence. we are getting a comprehensive portrait of what took place on january 6, but mr. meadows'
testimony is significant for us. the committee has bent over backwards to accommodate mr. meadows' requests. it is clear he has no intention of complying with the subpoena, even when his testimony could have no theoretical connection to an executive privilege claim. he is refusing to show up to testify about 9000 pages of documents he has already turned over to the committee and for which he has nullified any hypothetical assertions of executive privilege. he is refusing to testify about statements he has made in his book published last week and in the media about the events of january 6. this is another category of statements where any conceivable executive privilege claim that could be invoked by president biden, as asserted by president trump, has been waived by mr. meadows.
this witness must testify, the 300 other witnesses have done, either voluntarily and proudly as a patriot, or under compulsion of subpoena by the congress of the united states. he has no right in our constitutional system to defied a subpoena from the house of representatives, and as any witness knows, mr. meadows himself repeatedly through his career in congress insisted that even a executive branch officials must comply with congressional subpoenas for documents, information and testimony. in the last administration, mr. meadows found high-ranking officials hiding information from congress, withholding relevant documents, even outright ignoring congressional subpoenas, and he said -- this
level of conduct paired with the failure to even sustain an interest in transparency is reprehensible. whether you are a republican or democrat, this kind of obstruction is wrong, period. for nine months, we've warned the consequences were coming, and for nine months, we've heard the same excuses backed up i the same unacceptable conduct. time is up, and the consequences are here. a subpoenaed witness cannot thwart article one congressional power simply by filing an article three lawsuit. the meadows lawsuit against individual members of this committee is extremely dubious in light of the speech and debate clause and other constitutional roadblocks, and its allegations are clearly frivolous, such as his absurd claim that congress has no purpose in investigating and reporting on a violent attack on our capitol, our presidential
election, and the peaceful transfer of power. if we have no legitimate legislative purpose in investigating an insurrection against our own purpose, we have no legitimate legislative purposes at all. if this investigation is not necessary and proper to everything else we are doing, the constitution has been the hollowed out by official lawlessness and a shocking collapse in critical thinking skills. meadows' last-minute suit is a tactic to delay and obstruct our investigation, and it need not detain us any longer. we've received overwhelming cooperation and participation from americans who can help us piece together this shocking sequence of events, and we have a duty to collect all of the evidence we need to report back to congress and the american people on a matter of the utmost gravity and importance to the future of american democracy.
i favor this resolution to proceed with criminal contempt, and i yield back to you. >> the gentleman yields. the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from virginia. >> thank you, mr. chair, madame vice chair, and my fellow committee members. as many have echoed this evening, we do not take this vote lightly, but this committee and this congress is left with no other alternative when in the midst of an investigation into this magnitude, we are stonewalled at every turn by those who played a central role in the planning and execution of the january 6 attack. we have a detailed picture of the attack and the events leading up to it. our committee has heard from almost 300 people. we've received over 30,000 pages of documents, and we continue to follow-up every day on the more than 250 tips received through
our tip line. let's be very clear about mr. meadows' roll and why his testimony is so important. in the course of our investigation, we have heard from individuals involved in the planning of the rallies that immediately preceded the violent attack on the capitol, and we know some of those people were in direct contact with mr. meadows. we want to ask him about that. we have heard from former white house staffers who are helping us understand what was going on in the white house in the time leading up to january 6. mr. meadows was the chief of staff in the white house. we want to ask him about that. we've heard from officials at the justice department who are on the receiving end of instructions to substantiate claims about the election. mr. meadows was integral in that effort, so we want to ask him about that.
we've heard from state-level officials about the relentless public attacks on democracy in arizona, michigan and georgia, but mr. meadows actually went to georgia in connection with the recount effort. the committee and american people must hear from him about that. we are investigating an attempt, as one riot or put it, to overthrow the government. the fate of our republic has never faced a threat as acute and as imminent as we face today and we are looking into through this investigation. the extent of this effort reached the highest levels of our government, and it runs right through mr. meadows. anything less than his full cooperation further enables the erosion of our constitution, our democratic institutions, and the rule of law. i join my colleagues in urging
an aye vote, and i yield back. >> the gentlelady yields back. if there is no further debate, i now recognize the gentlewoman from wyoming, ms. cheney, for a motion. >> i move that the committee favorably report to the house the committee's report on a resolution recommending that the house of representatives find mark randall meadows in contempt of congress for refusal to comply with a subpoena duly issued by the select committee to investigate the january 6 attack on the united states capitol. >> the question is on the motion to favorably report to the house. those in favor say aye. >> aye! >> in the opinion of the chairs, the ayes have it. >> i request a recorded vote. >> the clerk will call the roll. >> ms. cheney, aye.
nos. >> the members have two calendar days in which to file supplemental or additional views on the measure ordered reported by the committee tonight. >> so ordered. without objection, staff is authorized to make any necessary technical or changes to the report to reflect the actions of the committee. there being no further business, without objection, the select committee stands adjourned. [gavel]
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