WASHINGTON — Mark Meadows, who served as former President Donald Trump’s final White House chief of staff, failed to appear for a deposition Friday before the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
Meadows did not appear for the deposition on Capitol Hill, according to two sources familiar with his absence. It was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. ET, and about 10 minutes later around a dozen committee staff and investigators walked out of the room along with the stenographer.
Committee chair Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and ranking member Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., later confirmed Meadows was a no-show, and threatened to pursue contempt of Congress proceedings.
“Mr. Meadows’s actions today—choosing to defy the law—will force the Select Committee to consider pursuing contempt or other proceedings to enforce the subpoena," the two lawmakers said in a joint statement, adding that Meadows has "failed to answer even the most basic questions."
"If his defiance persists and that process moves ahead, the record will reveal the wide range of matters the Select Committee wished to discuss with Mr. Meadows until his decision to hide behind the former President’s spurious claims of privilege. Many of those matters are not even conceivably subject to any privilege claim," they said.
The statement was released shortly after the Justice Department announced former Trump adviser Steve Bannon had been indicted for contempt of Congress for ignoring the committee's subpoenas.
His failure to show up comes a day after his attorney, George Terwilliger, suggested that Meadows would not cooperate with the committee.
“Contrary to decades of consistent bipartisan opinions from the Justice Department that senior aides cannot be compelled by Congress to give testimony, this is the first President to make no effort whatsoever to protect presidential communications from being the subject of compelled testimony,” he said in a statement. “Mr. Meadows remains under the instructions of former President Trump to respect longstanding principles of executive privilege. It now appears the courts will have to resolve this conflict.”
Thompson had warned in a letter that the panel still expected Meadows to produce “all responsive documents and appear for deposition testimony tomorrow.”
“If there are specific questions during that deposition that you believe raise legitimate privilege issues, Mr. Meadows should state them at that time on the record for the Select Committee’s consideration and possible judicial review,” Thompson wrote.
The committee had also been expecting to receive documents related to Trump and the Jan. 6 attack from the National Archives on Friday, but a federal appeals court on Thursday granted Trump’s request to temporarily block them from being handed over.