House Sends Criminal Contempt Referral Against Meadows To DOJ

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows arrives for a "Make America Great Again" rally at Reading Regional Airport in Reading, Pennsylvania, on October 31, 2020. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AF... White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows arrives for a "Make America Great Again" rally at Reading Regional Airport in Reading, Pennsylvania, on October 31, 2020. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS

The House of Representatives on Tuesday voted to refer former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows for criminal prosecution for contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the Jan. 6 select committee.

The vote was 222-208.

Only two Republicans voted for contempt: Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Liz Cheney (R-WY). Both also serve on the Jan. 6 committee.

Earlier this year, nine Republicans joined Democrats to hold former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon in contempt.

Now the referral gets kicked over to the Department of Justice, where Attorney General Merrick Garland will decide whether to pursue the recommended charges against Meadows.

The former White House official’s hot-and-cold interactions with the Jan. 6 committee saw him initially defy the subpoena on the basis of “executive privilege,” then cooperate with the committee and voluntarily hand over his texts and emails, only for him to reverse course yet again and refuse to cooperate. Then Meadows filed a lawsuit against the committee and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) last week.

Prior to the House’s vote on Tuesday, the Jan. 6 committee revealed several bombshell texts Meadows had received during the insurrection from key allies, including three Fox News hosts and Don Jr., pleading for Trump to put a stop to the violence at the Capitol.

A minidrama erupted on the floor ahead of the Meadows contempt vote, when Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) accused House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) of “disparaging” Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN). Hoyer noted that Banks voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election results and against forming an independent Jan. 6 commission, before saying that he is “not surprised that the gentleman from Indiana does not want to see this subpoena honored because I believe that he fears the information that would be brought forward.”

“Fearing the truth is not an excuse for not honoring a subpoena of this Congress,” Hoyer said.

Perry then demanded for Hoyer’s words to be taken down for “disparaging” Banks — an effort that ultimately failed after the chair ruled that Hoyer’s words did not need to be taken down because they weren’t “unparliamentary.” Perry previously acknowledged that he connected Trump with Jeffrey Clark, a Trump administration Justice Department official subpoenaed by the committee who attempted to use department resources to bolster Trump’s election fraud falsehoods.

The House’s vote was delayed hours following the dispute.

Meadows is now the second of President Donald Trump’s top cronies to stare down the barrel of contempt charges for stonewalling the Jan. 6 committee’s investigation into the Capitol insurrection. Bannon was charged with contempt last month, to which he has pleaded not guilty.

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