House committee considers charging Mark Meadows with contempt

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NBC) – A lawyer for Mark Meadows has sent a letter to the House committee investigating the January 6th attacks arguing that the former White House chief of staff should not be subject to criminal contempt of congress charges.

The committee is set to vote Monday night to recommend charges against Meadows, who said last week that he would no longer cooperate with the investigation.

The lawyer, George J. Terwilliger, said that a contempt referral would be contrary to law because a good-faith invocation of executive privilege and testimonial immunity by a former senior executive official is not a violation of the statute, especially when that person is relying on the advice of counsel.

Terwilliger also argues in the letter that a criminal referral would violate the “long-held and well-established separation of powers principles.”

The letter makes a series of arguments for why executive privilege should shield close advisers to the president from having to testify before Congress. But it doesn’t tackle the question of why executive privilege should apply to a former official when the current president is not invoking it, a question that is central in the legal fight over former President Donald Trump’s records.

Meadows’ attempt to push back against a congressional criminal referral also comes after a federal appeals court ruled last week that Trump cannot prevent the January 6th committee from getting hundreds of documents that were created when he was in the White House.

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