/Meadows book undermines withholding Trump Jan. 6 info: Schiff

Meadows book undermines withholding Trump Jan. 6 info: Schiff

  • Mark Meadows has claimed that his interactions with Trump on Jan. 6 are shielded by executive privilege.
  • But Meadows described his interactions with Trump on Jan. 6 in his upcoming memoir.
  • He may have damaged his own argument for withholding info from the Jan. 6 committee, Rep. Adam Schiff said.

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Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows may have undermined his own argument for not testifying to the January 6 committee about his interactions with Donald Trump during the Capitol riot because he writes about it in his new book, Rep. Adam Schiff told Politico.

Meadows has this week started to partly cooperate with the committee, providing information and setting a date to testify to the panel. But his lawyer has argued that the scope of what he can discuss is restricted by executive-privilege rules, which ensure a president can discuss issues with advisors and officials confidentially. 

But Schiff, a California Democrat and a member of the January 6 committee, said that by describing his interactions with Trump on January 6 in his new memoir, Meadows may have done serious damage to that argument.

“It’s … very possible that by discussing the events of Jan. 6 in his book, if he does that, he’s waiving any claim of privilege. So, it’d be very difficult for him to maintain ‘I can’t speak about events to you, but I can speak about them in my book,'” Schiff told Politico. 

In excerpts of his memoir, published by The Guardian this week, Meadows described Trump’s somber mood as he went to address supporters at the January 6 rally that preceded the Capitol riot and denied Trump’s actions that day made him culpable for the riot. 

Meadows initially refused to comply with a subpoena from the January 6 committee, and the panel weighed holding him in criminal contempt. However, earlier this week Meadows began supplying emails and other information and agreed to testify next week.

The committee is likely to use excerpts from Meadows’ book to challenge his claim that he can’t discuss his knowledge of Trump’s behavior during the riot, one of the key focuses of the inquiry.

Trump’s attorneys have argued that all interactions between the former president and his aides regarding January 6 and other records are shielded by executive privilege, but legal experts argued that the rule only applies to presidents currently in office, not former presidents. 

According to The Guardian, Meadows in his memoir sought to defend the president’s actions on January 6, claiming that a “handful of fanatics” were responsible for the violence and chaos.

The committee will likely want to question Meadows about claims in the ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl’s new book, which said that Meadows may have been complicit in Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election result.

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