WASHINGTON – Former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows accused the congressional committee investigating last year's attack on the U.S. Capitol of leaking all of the 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 cell phone records.
In the latest filing, lawyers for Meadows asked a judge to reject the committee's request for a court ruling in its favor that could force Meadows to comply with the subpoenas. The committee requested an expedited briefing schedule Wednesday after filing its motion the previous week.
The lawyers say Meadows deserves a chance through the fact-gathering process known as discovery to gather information about questions that are still in dispute, such as the committee's claims that former President Donald Trump did not properly invoke executive privilege over the items subpoenaed by the panel because he did not communicate that position directly 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 must have the ability to obtain any communications between the committee and Trump and possibly to take depositions of people familiar with those discussions.
The House voted in December to hold Meadows in criminal contempt after he ceased cooperating, referring the matter to the Justice Department, which has not said whether it will take action. 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 does not provide evidence, it says the committee has leaked all of the text messages Meadows has produced to the committee.
“The Congressional Defendants, under the auspices of a legitimate subpoena, induced Mr. Meadows to produce thousands of his private communications only to use them in a concerted and ongoing effort to vilify him publicly through the media,” Meadows’ attorney, George Terwilliger, wrote in 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 results of the race won by President Joe Biden. A filing a week ago cited testimony from a White House aide who said Meadows had been advised beforehand that there could be violence on Jan. 6.
The committee declined through a spokesperson to comment Saturday about Meadows' accusations against the panel.
Associated Press writer Farnoush Amiri in Washington contributed to this report.
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