White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speaks to reporters following a television interview, outside the White House in Washington, October 21, 2020.
Alexander Drago | Reuters
Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Wednesday sued House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and all nine members of the House select committee investigating the deadly Capitol riot, a court filing shows.
The civil lawsuit came as that select panel moves to hold Meadows in contempt for refusing to cooperate with the probe of the Jan. 6 invasion, when then-President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, asks the court to invalidate two subpoenas that the panel had issued to Meadows and Verizon, the carrier for his prior personal cell phone, calling them “overly broad and unduly burdensome.”
The 43-page complaint notes that Trump in early October instructed Meadows not to comply with the subpoena for his documents and testimony, claiming those materials are covered by executive privilege. President Joe Biden, however, waived Trump’s privilege claims, prompting Trump to file his own lawsuit against the Jan. 6 probe.
Meadows’ complaint argues that he “has been put in the untenable position of choosing between conflicting privilege claims that are of constitutional origin and dimension.” It asks the courts to settle the dispute.
A spokesman for the select committee declined to comment on the lawsuit. A lawyer and a spokesman for Meadows did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Meadows is the third Trump ally to face the threat of contempt proceedings from the House for refusing to comply with the Capitol riot probe. Last week, the select committee voted to advance contempt proceedings for ex-Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark.
The House had already voted to hold former White House senior advisor Steve Bannon in contempt for his own noncompliance with a subpoena. A federal grand jury in November charged Bannon with two counts of contempt of Congress.
Bannon has pleaded not guilty. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a fine of up to $100,000 for each count. A federal judge set a tentative July 18 start date for Bannon’s trial.
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