Mark Meadows says January 6 panel leaked texts to ‘defame’ him

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has accused the congressional committee investigating last year’s attack on the U.S. Capitol of leaking all the text messages he he provided to the panel in what he says was an effort to publicly defame him.

The argument was made in a filing Friday in federal court in Washington, where Meadows sued in December to invalidate subpoenas issued to him for his testimony and to Verizon for his cellphone records.

In the latest filing, Meadows’ attorneys asked a judge to reject the committee’s request for a court ruling in his favor that could force Meadows to comply with subpoenas. The committee called for an expedited information schedule on Wednesday after tabling its motion the previous week.

Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows listens during an announcement of the creation of a new South Carolina Freedom Caucus based on a similar national group during a press conference on April 20, 2022 in Columbia , SC

Lawyers say Meadows deserves a chance through the fact-gathering process known as discovery to gather information about issues that are still in dispute, such as the committee’s claims that former President Donald Trump is n did not properly assert executive privilege over subpoenaed evidence by the panel because he did not communicate that position directly to the committee.

“Mr. Meadows cannot know if this unsubstantiated claim is true without discovery – or if the select committee was aware of former President Trump’s claims,” the motion reads. It adds that Meadows must have the ability to obtain any communication between the committee and Trump and possibly take depositions from people familiar with these discussions.

The House voted in December to hold Meadows in criminal contempt after he stopped cooperating, sending the case back to the Justice Department, which did not say whether it would take action. Meadows’ legal team said he provided extensive cooperation, but the committee refused to respect Trump’s assertion of executive privilege.

Meadows’ motion also accuses the committee of waging a “sustained media campaign” against him. Although he does not provide evidence, he says the committee leaked all of the text messages Meadows produced to the committee.

“The Congressional Defendants, under the auspices of a lawful subpoena, instigated Mr. Meadows to produce thousands of his private communications only to be used in a concerted and ongoing effort to publicly vilify him through the media” , Meadows attorney George Terwilliger said in the motion.

Papers filed in court by the committee showed how Meadows was in regular contact before Jan. 6, 2021, with Republican allies who advanced false allegations of voter fraud and supported the nullification of the results of the race won by President Joe. Biden. A week ago, a filing cited testimony from a White House aide who said Meadows had been told beforehand that there could be violence on Jan. 6.

The committee declined, through a spokesperson, to comment on Saturday about Meadows’ accusations against the panel.

Associated Press writer Farnoush Amiri in Washington contributed to this report.


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