Meadows and his attorney George Terwilliger notified the committee Tuesday morning, after the senior Trump administration official could not come to terms with lawmakers on an arrangement to work with them. “We have made efforts over many weeks to reach an accommodation with the committee,” Terwilliger told Fox News.
Terwilliger said Meadows was looking to appear voluntarily before the committee and answer questions that Meadows believed were not protected by executive privilege.
Meadows is set to appear on “Hannity” Tuesday evening.
“Over the last several weeks, Mr. Meadows has consistently sought in good faith to pursue an accommodation with the Select Committee and up until yesterday we believed that could be obtained,” Terwilliger said in a letter to committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo. He noted that he and Meadows “consistently communicated” that Meadows could not make “a unilateral decision to waive Executive Privilege claims asserted by the former president.”
Over the weekend, however, the committee demonstrated that they indeed planned to look into privileged subject matters, the attorney told Fox News.
Terwilliger pointed to how the committee had issued at least one subpoena to third parties for Meadows’ cellphone records, which Meadows intended to turn over voluntarily after screening them for privileged material.
Terwilliger also cited a recent comment from Thompson that gave Meadows pause. “The chairman of the committee … publicly said that another witness’ claiming of the Fifth Amendment would be tantamount to an admission of guilt,” Terwilliger said, adding that this called into question “exactly what is going on with this committee.”
Terwilliger cited these same reasons for noncompliance in his letter to the committee. He went on to claim that the committee was pushing the boundaries of its authority through its demands and actions.
“It is well established that Congress’s subpoena authority is limited to the pursuit of a legitimate legislative purpose,” he wrote. “Congress has no authority to conduct law enforcement investigations or freestanding ‘fact finding’ missions.”
Meadows would not be the first to refuse compliance with the committee. Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon failed to appear and was subsequently indicted for contempt of Congress following a referral from the House.