WASHINGTON — The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol will "move quickly" to refer Mark Meadows, who was former President Donald Trump's White House chief of staff, for criminal contempt for not cooperating with its investigation, a committee member, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Sunday.
“I'm confident we'll move very quickly with respect to Mr. Meadows also, but we want to make sure that we have the strongest possible case to present to the Justice Department and for the Justice Department to present to a grand jury,” Schiff, who is also the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
Meadows refused to meet congressional investigators Friday. About 10 minutes after the 10 a.m. session had been scheduled to begin, around a dozen committee staff members and investigators walked out of the room, along with the stenographer.
"But when ultimately witnesses decide, as Meadows has, that they're not even going to bother showing up, that they have that much contempt for the law, then it pretty much forces our hand and we'll move quickly," Schiff said. He said that the committee may also recommend that the Justice Department file criminal charges against other witnesses who refuse to cooperate but that it will pursue that option only as a last resort.
Schiff also said the two new indictments against longtime Trump adviser and ally Steve Bannon for contempt of Congress could serve as a warning for other witnesses who have declined to talk with the committee.
“I view this as an early test of whether our democracy was recovering. If our law is to mean anything, it has to be applied equally," Schiff said. "And so I'm very glad the Justice Department has moved forward in this fashion."