Video emerges of Mark Meadows complaining about subpoenas being ignored – before he failed to appear at Capitol riot committee

Donald Trump’s chief of staff has defied a demand to testify before the January 6 committee, but old footage shows him accusing officials of ‘stonewalling’ for doing the same thing

Io Dodds
Sunday 14 November 2021 22:24 GMT
Former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows contradicts himself on refusing subpoenas in unearthed footage

Video footage has emerged of Donald Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows blasting US officials for ignoring congressional subpoenas three years before he himself refused to testify before the January 6 inquiry.

Mr Meadows, who served in Mr Trump’s White House from March 2020 until this January, is facing a criminal charge of contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the House of Representatives committee investigating January’s insurrection.

The former congressman said this week that he had "worked real hard to try to reach an accommodation", accusing the Democrat-controlled committee of being "very aggressive" and demanding "their way or the highway".

But a clip from 2018 found by MSNBC shows him taking the opposite stance, attacking then deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein for ignoring subpoenas for information about special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference.

In an interview with Fox News, Mr Meadows said: "For nine months we’ve asked for documents, and that’s all we want – the documents. And what we’ve found is, not only have subpoenas been ignored but information has been hidden, the efforts have been stonewalled.

"For us, it’s all about transparency, so that the American people can judge for themselves. So they may be able to ignore Congress, but they can’t ignore the American people."

Mr Meadows went so far as to launch an impeachment attempt against Mr Rosenstein, saying that his department had "continued to hide information from Congress and repeatedly obstructed oversight".

House Democrats have formed a special committee to investigate the riot on 6 January, in which a crowd of Trump supporters and far-right militia members stormed the Capitol building in an attempt to stop the US Senate from ratifying his election defeat.

The committee has issued subpoenas for 17 former Trump aides, including Mr Meadows, deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino, adviser Stephen Miller and press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.

On Friday Mr Biden’s Department of Justice announced contempt charges against Mr Trump’s former top adviser Steve Bannon for refusing to hand over documents and communications that might be related to the insurrection.

Committee member Adam Schiff told NBC News on Sunday that it will "move quickly" to refer Mr Meadows for similar charges, which could theoretically lead to him being jailed.

However, Mr Schiff said the committee would "bend over backward" to reach an agreement wit witnesses because it wants to give the Justice Department a watertight case.

Mr Meadows has insisted he did not know the insurrection was coming, telling the pro-Trump TV network Newsmax: "I’ve told them that to my knowledge no one in the West Wing had any advance knowledge of what was going to happen on January 6 in terms of a breach of security."

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