There’s been a lot of drama over the Capitol riot on January 6th, and one of the people being targeted by congressional subpoenas is Mark Meadows, former chief-of-staff to former President Donald Trump.
Meadows appeared on Fox News Channel’s “The Ingraham Angle” on Monday to express his feelings on the matter, and, unsurprisingly, he wasn’t too pleased about it.
Meadows has always been dismissive of the January 6th probe and that didn’t change as his comments to host Laura Ingraham made clear. Meadows asserted that the real reason Democrats are focusing on January 6th is to try to distract people from the nation’s terrible state of affairs, especially in regards to the economy.
“I can tell you what we’re seeing here is basically Democrats want to talk about anything other than the economy, anything other than the fact that there are more people that could be working that aren’t working right now,” he said.
(Video: Fox News)
A subpoena is not a request, and Congress does have the legal power to compel individuals to appear, as per clause 2(m)(1) and (3) of House Rule XI. If a subpoena is defied, Congress has three options: ask the U.S. Attorney for D.C. within the Justice Department to bring criminal charges against the violator, get mad but do nothing, and negotiate with the individual to get them to appear (this is usually what happens.)
For political reasons, Congress usually doesn’t go with the arrest route, as the Department of Justice (DOJ) can simply decline to prosecute, which can be a real issue depending on which party the person being summoned belongs to, versus which party currently controls the presidency (and thus the DOJ.) In recent years, this was put on display when the House voted to hold former attorney general Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, while Barack Obama was president, and the DOJ simply refused to prosecute.
Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA), member of the United States House Select Committee on the January 6 attack, is threatening to do that to Meadows, however, if Meadows doesn’t turn over his phone records from that day. Given that President Joe Biden is a Democrat and has staffed the DOJ with his own picks, such as Attorney General Merrick Garland, and prosecuting anyone involved with the January 6th riot is extremely popular with the Democrats, Schiff may have some bite to match his bark.
When asked by Ingraham whether or not he would comply with the subpoena, given Schiff’s threat to resort to criminal prosecution, Meadows didn’t respond directly, simply stating that he would let his legal team deal with it before trying to redirect the conversation:
“Listen, I’m gonna let the attorneys handle all of that. I can say this, when I talk to people they say we’ve already been through two impeachments. Why do we go through an impeachment of Donald Trump on this very issue and now we’re holding hearings?” he asked. “They don’t quite understand that. The American people know that it’s politics as usual. Hopefully, we’ll get beyond that.”
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