WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows accused the congressional committee investigating last 12 months’s attack on the U.S. Capitol of leaking the entire text messages he provided to the panel in what he says was an effort to vilify him publicly.
The argument was made in a filing Friday in Washington’s federal court, where Meadows sued in December to invalidate subpoenas issued to him for his testimony and to Verizon for his cellular phone records.
In the newest filing, lawyers for Meadows asked a judge to reject the committee’s request for a court ruling in its favor that might force Meadows to comply with the subpoenas. The committee requested an expedited briefing schedule Wednesday after filing its motion the previous week.
Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows listens during an announcement of the creation of a latest South Carolina Freedom Caucus based on an identical national group at a news conference on April 20, 2022 in Columbia, S.C.
The lawyers say Meadows deserves a probability through the fact-gathering process often known as discovery to assemble details about questions which might be still in dispute, similar to the committee’s claims that former President Donald Trump didn’t properly invoke executive privilege over the items subpoenaed by the panel because he didn’t communicate that position on to the committee.
“Mr. Meadows cannot possibly know whether that unsupported contention is true without discovery — or whether the Select Committee had awareness of former President Trump’s assertions,” the motion states. It adds that Meadows should have the flexibility to acquire any communications between the committee and Trump and possibly to take depositions of individuals aware of those discussions.
The House voted in December to carry Meadows in criminal contempt after he ceased cooperating, referring the matter to the Justice Department, which has not said whether it is going to take motion. Meadows’ legal team has said he provided extensive cooperation but that the committee refused to respect Trump’s assertion of executive privilege.
The motion by Meadows also accuses the committee of waging a “sustained media campaign” against him. Though it doesn’t provide evidence, it says the committee has leaked the entire text messages Meadows has produced to the committee.
“The Congressional Defendants, under the auspices of a legitimate subpoena, induced Mr. Meadows to provide 1000’s of his private communications only to make use of them in a concerted and ongoing effort to vilify him publicly through the media,” Meadows’ attorney, George Terwilliger, wrote within the motion.
Court filings by the committee have shown how Meadows was in regular contact before Jan. 6, 2021, with Republican allies who advanced false claims of election fraud and supported overturning the outcomes of the race won by President Joe Biden. A filing per week ago cited testimony from a White House aide who said Meadows had been advised beforehand that there might be violence on Jan. 6.
The committee declined through a spokesperson to comment Saturday about Meadows’ accusations against the panel.
Associated Press author Farnoush Amiri in Washington contributed to this report.