Capitol riot: Lawmakers to hold ex-Trump chief of staff in contempt

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US lawmakers investigating the 6 January Capitol riot said they will hold former President Donald Trump's chief of staff in criminal contempt.

The House Select Committee said it had "no choice" but to advance contempt proceedings against Mark Meadows for refusing to comply with its inquiry.

Mr Meadows had previously provided the bipartisan panel with information, but said this week he would not cooperate.

He will be the third ex-Trump aide to be held in contempt by the panel.

In a letter sent to Mr Meadows on Tuesday, committee chairman Bennie G Thompson of Mississippi, a Democrat, refuted the argument brought forward by Mr Meadows that information lawmakers sought from him was protected by executive privilege - a legal principle that protects many White House communications.

"There is no legitimate legal basis for Mr Meadows to refuse to cooperate with the Select Committee," Mr Thompson wrote.

Mr Meadows had said initially he would appear before the House panel this week, and had already provided the committee with some 6,000 pages worth of documents, including messages from his personal phone.

In one exchange from 6 November, 2020, Mr Meadows discussed appointing alternate electors (people who cast the official votes for president) in certain states, which effectively undermined some of the presidential election results.

"I love it," Mr Meadows wrote in a message to a Congress member.

Also included in the text messages is an exchange "between Meadows and an organiser of the January 6th rally", Mr Thompson wrote.

Mr Meadows' about-face comes amid the release of his memoir, which includes revelations about his former boss, particularly about Mr Trump's bout with Covid-19. The disclosures have reportedly angered his former boss.

In his book, Mr Meadows wrote that Mr Trump was "mortified" by the events of 6 January.

The former president had urged his former aides to reject any requests to testify in front of the House panel, claiming executive privilege exempts them from cooperation.

The House committee will now vote to hold Mr Meadows in contempt. If the House of Representatives upholds with charge, the case will be referred to the Justice department, which has the final say on bringing charges.

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Fast Legal Services in Dubai

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