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House Seeks Contempt Charge Against Meadows in Jan. 6 Inquiry

The vote would be the second time in recent weeks the House voted to hold an ally of Mr. Trump in contempt of Congress for refusing to sit for deposition. Stephen K. Bannon was indicted by a federal grand jury last month after the House voted to recommend that he be found in contempt for refusing to cooperate with the committee.

Unlike Mr. Bannon, who was not a member of the government during the run-up to Jan. 6, Mr. Meadows, who was one of Mr. Trump’s closest White House advisers during the attack, may have a stronger case against cooperating with a congressional inquiry that seeks confidential communications with a president that could be protected by executive privilege.

But Democrats argued that Mr. Meadows’s decision to furnish thousands of documents that are not privileged only underscored his obligation to speak to investigators about what he knew. They chalked up his change in stance to pressure from the former president, who objected to portions of Mr. Meadows’s newly released book.

“In an investigation like ours, when you produce records, you are expected to come in and answer questions about those records,” said Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the chairman of the committee. “But that’s not what he did. He told us the day before his deposition — the same day his book was published — that he would no longer cooperate with our investigation, and that he wasn’t coming in to be interviewed.”

Mr. Meadows and his lawyer, George J. Terwilliger III, vigorously protested the charge on Tuesday before the House action. Mr. Terwilliger said Mr. Meadows never “stopped cooperating” with the committee, arguing he has cooperated as much as he could without violating Mr. Trump’s assertions of executive privilege. Mr. Meadows has filed suit against the panel to seek a court ruling to determine the validity of Mr. Trump’s assertions of executive privilege.

“He has fully cooperated as to documents in his possession that are not privileged and has sought various means to provide other information while continuing to honor the former president’s privilege claims,” Mr. Terwilliger said, pointing out that his client had provided the panel with voluminous evidence.

On Monday, the committee voted 9 to 0 to recommend that Mr. Meadows be charged with criminal contempt of Congress. Mr. Meadows said later in an interview with the Fox News host Sean Hannity that the vote against him was “disappointing but not surprising.” He argued that the committee was focusing solely on Mr. Trump at the expense of security lapses at the Capitol.


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