Official: Meadows had been warned of possible 1/6 violence | New Policies
By FARNOUSH AMIRI, ERIC TUCKER and MARY CLARE JALONICK, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — A former White House official told the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, uprising on the U.S. Capitol that President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, was briefed on reports of intelligence showing the potential for violence that day, according to transcripts released late Friday evening.
Cassidy Hutchinson, who served as Trump’s White House special aide, told the committee “there were concerns raised” at Meadows before the riot, but it’s unclear what Meadows did with that information. .
“I just remember Mr. Ornato coming in and saying we had information that there might be violence on the 6th,” Hutchinson said, presumably referring to Anthony Ornato, a senior Secret Service official. . “And Mr. Meadows said, ‘All right. Let’s talk about it.'”
Friday’s filing is the latest volley in a months-long legal battle over the extent to which Meadows, a close Trump ally whose closeness to the president has made him a key target of House Democrats, can be coerced. to cooperate with the committee’s investigation. Although Meadows provided the committee with thousands of text messages, he refused to appear for an interview, argued that he was immune from having to testify because of his position in the White House, and instead sued the committee.
The filing seeks a court ruling in favor of the committee that would compel Meadows’ cooperation. He says the committee narrowed the scope of its request to focus on seven specific topics, including testimony about communicating with Congress before Jan. 6; about White House plans to replace Justice Department leadership so the department can prosecute Trump’s bogus election fraud allegations; and on efforts to create alternative or bogus state voter lists that could change the outcome of the presidential vote.
The committee released as exhibits excerpts from the testimony of several witnesses it interviewed, including Hutchinson. In addition to describing the warnings of potential violence provided to Meadows, she also revealed how the White House attorney’s office warned against plans to enlist fake voters in states, including at meetings. involving Meadows and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani.
The filing also includes new text messages that Meadows gave to the committee, including several from congressional GOP members urging him to act. Meadows’ former colleague and close friend, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, suggests in a late Jan. 5 text — the day before Congress was to certify Joe Biden’s election victory — that Vice President Mike Pence “should call all electoral votes he believes to be unconstitutional because no electoral votes at all.
Meadows texted in the early hours of Jan. 6, “I pushed for this. Not sure this is happening. Pence ultimately withstood the overwhelming pressure from Trump and his allies and did not attempt to oppose Biden’s certification.
Pennsylvania Rep. Scott Perry texted Meadows as early as Dec. 26: “Mark, I just checked as time keeps ticking. 11 days at 1/6 and 25 days at the inauguration. We have to go!”
In texts released by the committee, Perry encouraged Meadows to speak to Jeffrey Clark, an assistant attorney general who was sympathetic to Trump’s false claims of voter fraud. A week later, on Jan. 3, Clark attended a White House meeting with Trump, where the prospect of elevating Clark to acting attorney general was discussed — but adamantly resisted by Department of Justice officials. Justice, who threatened to resign, and White House lawyers. Trump eventually backed down.
Testimony released on Friday also reinforced how some Republican members of Congress were deeply involved in White House talks about canceling the election in the months leading up to the deadly insurgency.
Hutchinson, for example, described several calls involving Meadows and members of the far-right House Freedom Caucus in late November and early December in which attendees discussed what Pence’s role might be on January 6, in addition to the role ceremonial he had to play.
On those calls, according to Hutchinson, were representatives from Trump’s legal team, including Giuliani, Jenna Ellis and Sidney Powell, as well as Jordan and Perry.
Meadows’ lawsuit asked a judge to invalidate two subpoenas he received from the committee, alleging they were “overbroad and unduly burdensome.” The lawsuit accused the committee of abuse by subpoenaing Verizon for its cellphone records.
After the complaint was filed, the select committee sent a contempt of Congress charge against Meadows to the House floor, where he passed a vote close to the party line. It was the first time the chamber had voted to despise a former member since the 1830s.
While a previous contempt referral against former Trump adviser Steve Bannon resulted in an impeachment, the Justice Department was slower in deciding whether to prosecute Meadows.
The criminal case against Meadows is more complex than the one presented against Bannon, in part because Meadows was White House chief of staff and because he began cooperating with the committee, even providing documents to the nine-member panel. .
Meadows attorney George Terwilliger previously defended his client, noting that due to Meadows’ willingness to turn over records, he shouldn’t be forced to attend an interview. Terwilliger did not immediately return an email seeking comment Friday evening.
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