The US House of Representatives voted Tuesday to hold former President Donald Trump‘s last chief of staff, Mark Meadows in contempt of Congress.
Last week, Mark Meadows informed @January6thCmte he would not cooperate further – abandoning his duty to country.
Tonight, the House voted him in contempt and referred him for criminal prosecution.
We acted with urgency.
The Justice Department must do the same.
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) December 15, 2021
Lawmakers passed the measure largely along party lines in a 222-208 vote. Two Republicans voted with Democrats: Reps. Liz Cheney, of Wyoming, and Adam Kinzinger, of Illinois. Both are on the January 6th committee.
The decision comes after he ceased to cooperate with the January 6 Committee investigating the Capitol riots that resulted in the deaths of five people.
It is now up to the Justice Department to decide whether Meadows should be formally charged. He could face up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.
Meadows, a former Republican congressman from North Carolina, initially handed over some information to the House committee probing the attack but then refused, twice, to appear for a deposition, despite a subpoena.
Failure to comply with a congressional subpoena is a misdemeanor.
Meadows’ attorney argued that he was covered by executive privilege; a right of the president and other officials in the executive to withhold certain forms of communication from Congress or the courts.
It is the same argument other Trump allies used to justify their decision to not testify at the committee.
The Jan. 6 committee’s chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said Meadows’ actions left the panel with “no choice.”
“This isn’t about any sort of privilege or immunity. This is about Mr. Meadows refusing to comply with the subpoena to discuss the records he himself turned over,” Thompson said in floor debate Tuesday ahead of the House vote.
The Justice Department has already charged Trump’s former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, with two counts of contempt of Congress. That case is scheduled to be heard on 18 July.
The House is also considering similar action against another Trump ally, former Justice Department official, Jeffrey Clark.