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Tipsheet

Biden: 'It Seems to Me [Mark Meadows] Worthy of Being Held in Contempt'

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

On Tuesday night, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 222-208 to hold Mark Meadows, former President Donald Trump's chief of staff, in contempt of Congress. Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Liz Cheney (R-WY) were the only Republicans to vote in favor with all Democrats. President Joe Biden weighed in on Wednesday morning when asked by reporters on his way to Kentucky what his "reaction [was] to Congress holding Meadows in contempt." 

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While the president acknowledged that he didn't "know enough" and hadn't spoken to anyone, he still went on to say that "it's worthy of being held in contempt." 

Biden also gave a non-answer, saying, "I haven't seen them all" when asked, "What do you think about the texts that have been released?"

The texts in question refer to communication between Meadows and Donald Trump, Jr., as well as several Fox News hosts. As Scott Wong and Mike Lillis reported for The Hill on Monday night: 

The stunning messages, submitted to the panel by Mark Meadows, Trump’s former chief of staff, revealed that Sean Hannity, Brian Kilmeade and Laura Ingraham — all superstar Fox personalities with enormous conservative followings — and Donald Trump, Jr. were all pressing Meadows to convince the president to intervene during the early hours of the siege.

“He's got to condemn this shit ASAP,” Donald Trump Jr. texted Meadows as the attack was underway.

“I'm pushing it hard. I agree,” Meadows replied.

But when the president still did not act, his eldest son reached out again to Trump’s chief of staff, according to Jan. 6 Committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), who read the series of texts during a hearing Monday night.

“We need an Oval Office address. He has to lead now. It has gone too far and gotten out of hand,” Trump Jr. texted.

Around the same time, a trio of Fox News hosts were also bombarding Meadows with text messages, trying to get Trump to call off the attack.

“Mark, president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home. This is hurting all of us. He is destroying his legacy,” Ingraham texted. 

“Please get him on TV. Destroying everything you have accomplished,” added Kilmeade. 

“Can he make a statement? Ask people to leave the Capitol,” texted Hannity.

Meadows also received dozens of texts from GOP lawmakers, staffers and members of the press trapped inside the Capitol during the assault, Cheney said.

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As Matt also reported, citing coverage from The Federalist, the committee had access to communication between Meadows and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH). However, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), a member of the January 6 select committee, doctored the text messages. 

Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), a member of the select committee, had particularly harsh words for Meadows, even going so far as to call him "a central participant in the events that culminated in the assault on our Capitol, country, & core democratic values."

There has been considerable drama between Meadows and the select committee as to whether or not he would appear before the committee after being subpoenaed, along with several other key figures. Meadows, who was among the first figures subpoenaed in September, was subpoenaed at the same time as Steve Bannon. 

For his failure to comply with a subpoena, the House voted in October to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress. The Department of Justice (DOJ) acted soon after by indicting Bannon, who pled "not guilty," meaning he could face fines and years of jail time, especially with the high conviction rate for those who don't plead when it comes to federal charges. 

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It's worth noting that the vote was much more partisan for Meadows than it was for Bannon, as nine Republicans voted to hold Bannon in contempt. 

Meadows and Bannon have claimed executive privilege. In October, a letter from Trump's attorneys called on those subpoenaed to not comply, citing executive and other privileges. 

Trump is facing his own legal battles over the January 6 select committee, specifically regarding attempts to block the National Archives from handing over records from the Trump White House. Last week, the former president lost with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals after losing with a district judge last month. 

The matter could very well go before the U.S. Supreme Court. 

The January 6 select committee retweeted messages from Schiff calling for the DOJ to act, though as of Wednesday afternoon, it does not appear that they have done so.

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