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In a reversal, ex-Trump chief of staff refuses to cooperate with Jan. 6 inquiry

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
                                White House chief of staff Mark Meadows spoke with reporters outside the White House, in October 2020, in Washington. Meadows, the former White House chief of staff under President Donald Trump, today informed the committee scrutinizing the Jan. 6 attack at the Capitol that he was no longer willing to cooperate with its investigation.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    White House chief of staff Mark Meadows spoke with reporters outside the White House, in October 2020, in Washington. Meadows, the former White House chief of staff under President Donald Trump, today informed the committee scrutinizing the Jan. 6 attack at the Capitol that he was no longer willing to cooperate with its investigation.

WASHINGTON >> Mark Meadows, the former White House chief of staff under President Donald Trump, today informed the committee scrutinizing the Jan. 6 attack at the Capitol that he was no longer willing to cooperate with its investigation, reversing a deal he reached with the panel just last week to sit for an interview and provide documents.

“We now must decline the opportunity to appear voluntarily for a deposition,” Meadows’ attorney, George Terwilliger, wrote to the committee.

Instead, he proposed that Meadows answer questions in writing through what he called an “orderly process” that would create a “clear record of questions and related assertions of privilege.”

The turnabout was the second in two weeks by Meadows, who had initially refused to comply with a subpoena from the House panel in line with a directive from Trump, but told the panel last week that he would be willing to provide documents and sit for a voluntary interview.

In his letter today , obtained by The New York Times, Meadows’ attorney made a litany of complaints against the select committee, saying that it did not appear to respect Trump’s assertion of executive privilege and had issued a wide-ranging subpoena for Meadows’ communications that would include personal conversations.

“We agreed to provide thousands of pages of responsive documents and Mr. Meadows was willing to appear voluntarily, not under compulsion of the select committee’s subpoena to him, for a deposition to answer questions about nonprivileged matters,” Terwilliger wrote. “Now actions by the select committee have made such an appearance untenable.”

Terwilliger said the material sought by the committee includes “intensely personal communications” with no relevance to any legitimate investigation.

“With the breadth of its subpoenas and its pugnacious approach, the select committee has made clear that it does not intend to respect these important constitutional limits,” Terwilliger wrote.

Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., a member of the committee, called Meadows’ demands “imperious and highhanded.”

“I can’t imagine we will accept it,” said Raskin, adding that he was speaking only for himself and not the full committee, which has yet to discuss Meadows’ latest move. “We’ve got to decide what to do. Our witnesses do not dictate the terms of our investigation.”

The committee has now interviewed more than 275 witnesses and is receiving cooperation from some members of former Vice President Mike Pence’s inner circle, including his former chief of staff Marc Short, according to a person familiar with the investigation.

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