Biden says Mark Meadows ‘worthy of being held in contempt’

Mr Biden says he hasn’t seen any of the text messages to Mr Meadows which select committee members have released in recent days

Andrew Feinberg
Washington, DC
Wednesday 15 December 2021 18:00 GMT
President Biden arrives in Kentucky to survey tornado damage

President Joe Biden said ex-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows was “worthy” of the House of Representatives’ Tuesday evening vote holding him in contempt of congress and recommending that he be prosecuted for defying a subpoena from the select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection.

Speaking on the White House’s south lawn before departing to view tornado damage in Kentucky on Wednesday, Mr Biden first responded to a question about Mr Meadows by noting that he had not spoken to anyone about the matter.

He added: “It seems to me he is worthy of being held in contempt”.

Mr Meadows on Tuesday became the first ex-House member to face the possibility of criminal charges for defying a congressional subpoena from his former colleagues, and just the second former congressman to be rebuked by his former colleagues for contempt since 1832.

The former North Carolina representative, who resigned from the House in April 2020 to take up his role as former president Donald Trump’s chief of staff, incurred his erstwhile colleagues opprobrium after failing to appear to give evidence to the select committee at a deposition scheduled for last week.

Mr Biden said he had not seen any of the text messages Mr Meadows had turned over to and had been set to discuss with select committee members at the aborted deposition, some of which have now been made public during debate over the resolution holding Mr Meadows in contempt.

Some of the messages released by the committee include pleas for Mr Trump to take some action to stop the mob of his supporters from escalating their attack on the Capitol, while others reveal that the ex-White House chief of staff was in communication with members of congress who pressed him on ways the Trump administration and Republican state legislatures could act to subvert the will of voters and overturn Mr Biden’s 2020 election victory.

Asked about Mr Biden’s comments while aboard Air Force One en route to Kentucky, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Mr Biden “has full confidence in the select committee members and the speaker [of the house]” and would “let that process run its’ course”.

Pressed further on whether Mr Meadows’ status as a former White House chief of staff could complicate the Justice Department’s deliberations on whether to indict him, Ms Jean-Pierre said she could not speak to what Attorney General Merrick Garland may or may do because the DOJ is “an independent agency”.

“I’ll leave it to the Department of Justice and I’ll send you there ... so I don’t have any much more to say about that,” she said.

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