Former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows struck a deal to cooperate with the congressional probe into the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and plans to appear for a deposition, the House select committee announced Tuesday.
The move marks a sharp turn in Mr. Meadows’ stance toward the committee after failing to appear before a scheduled deposition earlier this month.
“Mr. Meadows has been engaging with the Select Committee through his attorney,” said Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, the Mississippi Democrat who chairs the select committee. “He has produced records to the committee and will soon appear for an initial deposition.”
Mr. Meadows refused to appear before the panel earlier this month. His lawyer, George Terwilliger III, asserted that Mr. Meadows remained “immune” from the committee’s probe citing former President Donald Trump’s claims of executive privilege.
Mr. Meadow’s cooperation comes on the heels of the committee‘s announcement Monday they will vote on recommending criminal contempt of Congress charges against former Department of Justice lawyer Jeffrey Clark after he refused to answer the panel’s questions during a deposition earlier this month.
Mr. Clark cited Mr. Trump‘s claim of executive privilege, which is being fought in the courts.
The legal wrangling surrounding the committee underscores the political conflict at the heart of the Democrat-run committee’s work. Democrats describe their work as a quest for truth, but Mr. Trump‘s supporters view the committee as an attempt to smear Republicans and score political points.
Rep. Adam B. Schiff, California Democrat and member of the committee, told CNN on Sunday that the committee would make a decision this week on whether to refer criminal contempt charges for Mr. Meadows in addition to Mr. Clark.
“We are moving with alacrity with anyone who obstructs the committee, and that was certainly the case with Mr. Bannon. It will be the case with Mr. Meadows, and Mr. Clark or any others,” he said.
Mr. Meadows and Mr. Clark are among several witnesses that have leaned on the president’s case as justification for stalling the committee, but the committee rejects Mr. Trump’s argument has any standing.
Mr. Trump has sued federal officials over the release of documents related to the Jan. 6 probe. His legal team said in the lawsuit that the House committee has “no legitimate legislative purpose” for its request.
The legal team also continues to press its claim that, as a former president, Mr. Trump enjoys “inherent constitutional rights of privilege.”
The committee voted unanimously in October to pursue criminal contempt charges for former Trump adviser Steve Bannon who failed to appear for a scheduled deposition. The measure passed the full House and the Justice Department then empaneled a grand jury, which indicted Mr. Bannon on two counts of contempt of Congress.
Mr. Bannon faces up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $100,000 for each count if found guilty.
He pleaded not guilty. He also vowed to “go on the offense” and use the proceedings to put the government on trial.
“The Select Committee expects all witnesses, including Mr. Meadows, to provide all information requested and that the Select Committee is lawfully entitled to receive,” Mr. Thompson said Tuesday. “The committee will continue to assess his degree of compliance with our subpoena after the deposition.”