Meadows wants to cooperate with Jan. 6 committee, feels need to protect executive privilege
“My concern is, what is it going to mean to future presidents and future chiefs of staff,” Meadows tells Just the News Editor John Solomon.
Former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows says he plans on cooperating with the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack after his litigation over executive privilege is resolved.
“Sadly it had to get to a lawsuit," he told a Just the News-Real America’s Voice TV special on Thursday hosted by John Solomon and Amanda Head.
Meadows is suing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the Jan. 6 House committee to have the court invalidate two subpoenas issued by the panel to Meadows and his personal cell phone carrier Verizon.
When the committee tried to force Meadows to divulge information he views as covered by executive privilege, the former chief of staff stopped cooperating with the committee. The Jan. 6 panel has since threatened Meadows with criminal contempt charges.
Meadows said he wants to work with the committee, but the goal of his lawsuit is to protect executive privilege.
"We had been working for several weeks to try and find an accommodation – a voluntary accommodation – with the committee to share certain non-privileged items," he said.
"What we found was even after, in good faith, working with the committee to try and find some documents that were non-privillaged and not covered under the president's executive privilege claim… is that not only the scope of their questioning, but really a new subpoena that came up," he said. He tried working with the committee, but he says they weren't willing to work with him and the subpoena was filed without notification.
"It became apparent that we would have to file a lawsuit against Speaker Pelosi and the Jan. 6 committee," he said.
"We don't believe that it's our right or our ability to waive executive privilege. That's something that belongs to President Donald Trump," the former chief of staff explained.
He said he is unsure if the lawsuit will stop the committee from continuing with the contempt charges against him, but he feels as if the lawsuit has far greater implications. If Meadows loses, he believes its effects will be felt by every future presidential administration.
"My concern is, what is it going to mean to future presidents and future chiefs of staff, and not just chiefs of staff, other senior advisors… Those conversations should be protected," Meadows said.
"It would have a chilling effect," he said. "If every new president can waive the executive privilege of the previous president and allow for congress to go on a fishing expedition that's got such broad scope. They're not a law enforcement institution. They're a legislative one."
Meadows also discussed his new book, "The Chief's Chief," in which he goes into greater detail on the events of Jan. 6 and his time as chief of staff.
"I'm hopeful that what the readers will find... is that work ethic, that willingness to make America First was really something that was enshrined in President Donald Trump," Meadows said. "His love for America came through in every decision both privately and publicly, trying to do the very best with an unbelievable sacrifice, but he was able to take on challenges that not many politicians would ever take on."
He described the former president as "an authentic person willing to risk everything to do what was right for the country."