He left the Oval Office a year ago, but House Democrats remain obsessed with Donald Trump. That’s why they are threatening former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows with jail for defying an illegal subpoena.
The subpoena was issued earlier this year by the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol, the special creation of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to use an official investigation to smear congressional Republicans as domestic terrorists and accessories to an “insurrection” against American “democracy.”
Meadows, who is also a former member of the House of Representatives, initially cooperated with the select panel, turning over more than 6,900 requested documents, including those now infamous emails he received during the riot from Fox News stars Sean Hannity, Brian Kilmeade, and Laura Ingraham.
But then the panel demanded Meadows show up for a deposition in which he would have to answer under oath and all questions put to him. Doing that would have inevitably required him to violate presidential executive privilege because he was certain to be asked multiple questions about how he advised Trump on the riot and what Trump said in response, as well as how other aides did so.
Executive privilege is not absolute, but it is essential, according to the Supreme Court in its U.S. v Nixon decision that blew Watergate wide open. The High Court acknowledged in that decision that a high level of confidentiality must be assured to ensure that chief executives get frank and candid advice and counsel from their closest aides.
That means that by refusing to continue cooperating, Meadows is defending the constitutional right of future presidents and their aides to have honest, confidential debates about national policies and decisions.
So why is the subpoena issued to Meadows illegal? After all, every House Democrat, plus two faux Republicans named “Cheney” and “Kinzinger,” voted Tuesday to hold Meadows in contempt and refer his case to the Department of Justice for prosecution. He could face a year in jail and ruinous legal fees to defend himself.
The subpoena is illegal because the select panel is operating contrary to the authority it was given by the House when it was created. As Republican Study Committee (RSC) Chairman Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) explained during Tuesday’s acrimonious debate on the Meadows contempt citation:
“According to the select committee’s charter, H.Res. 503, ‘the Speaker shall appoint 13 members to the select committee, five of whom shall be appointed in consultation with the Minority Leader.’ But the committee has zero members appointed in consultation with [House Minority] Leader [Kevin] McCarthy [R-CA], and it doesn’t have 13 members, it has nine.
“According to the committee’s charter, if Mr. Meadows had come in for a deposition, the minority must have been allowed to question Mr. Meadows for the same amount of time as the majority. Except no members of the committee were named by the minority.
“This isn’t nit-picking. The Supreme Court has found that a select committee must follow its own rules to act with legal force. So we have the select committee as it exists legally and on paper. And then we have something completely different. I don’t know what to call it but it doesn’t resemble the select committee that Democrats voted to pass on the House floor. It’s just nine members picked by Speaker Pelosi.”
And that’s the key point: The select committee is nothing more than Pelosi’s illegal creation. It’s an oppressive, medieval Star Chamber using the threat of prison, media misinformation, and bankruptcy to force individuals to submit to and support Pelosi’s hyper-partisan narrative about what happened on January 6.
There’s something else about Pelosi that is key to understanding the actions of the select committee, or rather its absence of actions concerning one crucially important decision made on January 6.
It was mentioned during Tuesday’s debate by Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL), the top GOP member of the House Administration Committee, when he reminded the House of a letter he and three colleagues sent Pelosi a few days after the riot.
The three GOP colleagues — Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, and Rep. Devin Nunes of California — are, respectively, the ranking minority members of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, House Judiciary Committee, and the House Select Committee on Intelligence.
Davis observed during Tuesday’s debate:
“A number of questions from that day still remain unanswered. I’m still waiting on the Speaker of the House to answer a letter I sent her back in February that asks why the National Guard requests by the then-[USCP] police chief were denied, why the Speaker was involved in eventually approving the request, why the House SAA [Sergeant at Arms] has refused to comply with preservation and production requests from my office.”
Davis added that “with these questions still unanswered and another purely political contempt resolution on the floor today, it makes you ask yourself: What is the majority hiding and why are their priorities not the men and women serving in the Capitol Police and making this Capitol more secure for everyone? We need these reforms and they should have been done months ago.”
Trump offered the National Guard to Capitol authorities the day before the riot. The U.S. Capitol Police requested the guard in the early afternoon of January 6, but that help didn’t arrive until late in the day after most of the violence was spent.
Here are the questions Davis, Jordan, Comer and Nunes posed to Pelosi in February and which she has never answered in public and under oath:
• When then-USCP Chief Steven Sund made a request for national guard support on January 4th, why was that request denied?
• Did Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving get permission or instruction from your staff on January 4th prior to denying Chief Sund’s request for the national guard?
• What conversations and what guidance did you and your staff give the Sergeant at Arms leading up to January 6th specific to the security posture of the campus?
• What conversations did you have during the attack on the Capitol and what response did you give security officials on January 6th when Chief Sund requested National Guard support that required your approval?
• Why are your House Officers refusing to comply with preservation and production requests to turn over request materials relevant to the events of January 6th?
So here we are wondering: What did Pelosi, or her minions, decide and when did she decide it on January 6? Just don’t expect anybody on the select committee — or in the mainstream media — to ask that question about the elephant in the middle of the room of January 6.