The panel voted Monday night 9-0 to recommend that the charges be referred. If Meadows is held in contempt by the House, the Justice Department would be notified and would decide whether or not to prosecute him. According to House records, it would be the first time that the House has voted in contempt to hold Meadows as a former member since 1830s.
The committee released a series frantic texts Meadows received Monday as the attack was progressing. Meadows provided the texts before he stopped cooperating with them. They revealed that members Congress, Fox News anchors, and even President Donald Trump's own son were asking him to convince Trump to quickly stop the siege of his supporters.
Donald Trump Jr. sent Meadows the message "We need an Oval Office Address" as his father's supporters broke into the Capitol. This caused lawmakers to run for their lives and disrupted the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential victory. He must lead now. It has gone too far, and it has gotten outof hand."Trump Jr. said, "He's going to condemn this s--- ASAP."
The text messages raised new questions about the White House and Trump's actions during the attack. Meadows was to be questioned by the committee about the communications. The records include 6,600 pages taken from personal email accounts as well as approximately 2,000 text messages. None of the communications have been released by the panel.
At Monday's meeting, Liz Cheney, a Republican Rep. from Wyoming, read the text. They show "supreme neglect" and raise serious questions about Trump's intent to block congressional certification. He failed to send a clear message to the rioters by inaction, he said.
Cheney stated, "These texts are clear." "The White House knew exactly the events at Capitol."
As it attempts to compile the best record possible of the events leading up to and during the siege, the investigating panel has already interviewed over 300 witnesses and subpoenaed 40 others.
The leaders of the committee have pledged to punish anyone who does not comply. After Steve Bannon defied his subpoena, the Justice Department already indicted him on two counts for contempt. Meadows and Bannon could spend up to one-year in prison if convicted.
Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the committee, stated that Meadows had left a legacy in the House. His former colleagues snubbed him for criminal prosecution because he refused to answer questions about the brutal attack on democracy. This is his legacy."
George Terwilliger, Meadows' attorney, wrote Monday to Thompson that the contempt vote would not be justified because Meadows was Trump's top aide and that all presidents should have executive privilege to protect their private conversations. Meadows has sued the panel to have two subpoenas invalidated. He claims they are too broad and burdensome.
Terwilliger pointed out that the contempt statute is not often used and suggested that a contempt referral by a senior presidential adviser "would do great harm to the institution of The Presidency."
Terwilliger released a new statement Tuesday stating that Meadows had not stopped cooperating, but had instead maintained that he couldn't be forced to appear for an interview. Terwilliger noted that Meadows had "fully cooperated" in respect of documents that were not privileged but that they were in his possession.
Terwilliger wrote that "As the House prepares for the Select Committee to act on its recommendation, maybe Members will consider how the Select Committee’s true intentions in dealing avec Mr. Meadows were revealed when it accuses them of contempt citing exactly the documents their cooperation has produced," Terwilliger wrote. "What message does this duplicity send to him and to anyone else who might be willing to cooperate in good faith?"
Before Meadows ended his cooperation, the committee slowly uncovered a few of Meadows' emails and texts.
Monday's reading was by Cheney, who used Trump Jr.'s texts and a host of Fox News hosts to inform Trump's inner circle that they were trying to reach him through his chief of staff.
According to Meadows' report, Fox News host Laura Ingraham sent Meadows the following message: "Hey Mark. The president needs to tell everyone in the Capitol to come home...this is hurting all...he is destroying his heritage."
"Please get him on TV. Fox News' Brian Kilmeade wrote, "Destroying all you have achieved." Sean Hannity also wrote: "Can he make any statement?" Ask people to leave Capitol.
Meadows replied to Trump Jr.'s text by writing: "I'm pushing for it hard." I agree.
Cheney also provided details about texts she claimed were from members and other Capitol staff.
One text read: "Hey Mark, protesters literally storm the Capitol," "Breaking windows on the doors. Rushing in. Trump is going to speak?
Another said: "There is an armed standoff at House Chamber Door."
Meadows would have been present for Meadows' deposition. However, lawmakers planned to also ask him questions about Trump's attempts to overturn the election weeks before the insurrection. This includes his outreach to states, and his communications to Congress.
Trump's former White House top aide is "uniquely situated to provide key data, having straddled a formal role in the White House as well as an unofficial role related Mr. Trump’s reelection campaign," according to a 51-page report.
The panel asked Meadows a series of questions. It wanted to know if Trump was involved in discussions about the National Guard's response. This was delayed hours by the violence and rioters beating police officers guarding the Capitol Building.
Meadows provided documents that include an email that he sent to someone unidentified, in which he stated that the Guard would be present "to protect pro Trump people," and that additional Guard members would be on standby. The email was not disclosed by the committee.
Meadows was questioned by committee staff about emails sent to "leadership at the Department of Justice on the December 29th and 30th 2020 and January 1st 2021, encouraging investigations of possible voter fraud", even though election officials across the country and courts had denied those claims.
The committee exchanged text messages with an unidentified senator. Meadows stated that Trump believed Vice President Mike Pence had the power to reject voters in his role as presiding over Jan. 6 certification.
This power was not granted to Pence by law as the function of the vice president is mostly ceremonial.