Donald Trump’s former White House chief of staff will no longer co-operate with the congressional committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, in a U-turn that underscores the growing rancour between the former president’s allies and lawmakers.
Bennie Thompson, the Democrat chairing the January 6 select committee, said last month that Mark Meadows had been “engaging” with the panel of lawmakers through his lawyer, and had provided records to the committee and would provide a deposition following a congressional subpoena.
But George Terwilliger, Meadows’s lawyer, indicated on Tuesday that his client would no longer be co-operating, accusing the committee of not operating in “good faith”. In a letter sent to Thompson and obtained by the Financial Times, Terwilliger said the committee “had no intention of respecting boundaries concerning executive privilege”.
Terwilliger and a spokesperson for the January 6 committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The U-turn from Meadows comes as the former chief of staff has come under fire from Trump loyalists over a forthcoming memoir in which Meadows details the then president’s bout with Covid-19. In the book, Meadows reportedly says Trump tested positive for the virus before a televised debate with Joe Biden.
Trump and his allies have sought to invoke “executive privilege”, a legal convention that means certain presidential communications are confidential, as grounds for not co-operating with the January 6 committee, which is comprised of Democratic lawmakers and just two Republicans: Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.
Trump has sued the panel in an effort to block the release of documents relating to his final days in office, while Steve Bannon, another Trump confidante, was indicted by a federal grand jury last month for contempt of Congress after failing to comply with a subpoena from the panel of lawmakers.
It remains unclear whether Meadows’s case will follow a similar trajectory. Meadows was a Republican congressman from North Carolina before being tapped as Trump’s fourth and final chief of staff.