The Guardian’s Martin Pengelly and David Smith report:
Mark Meadows’ attorney, George Terwilliger, wrote in a letter on Tuesday that a deposition would be “untenable” because the 6 January select committee “has no intention of respecting boundaries” concerning questions that Donald Trump has claimed are off-limits because of executive privilege.
Executive privilege covers the confidentiality or otherwise of communications between a president and his aides. The Biden administration has waived it in the investigation of 6 January. Trump and allies entwined in events leading up to the storming of the Capitol, around which five people died, have invoked it.
Terwilliger also said he learned over the weekend that the committee had issued a subpoena to a third-party communications provider that he said would include “intensely personal” information.
In an interview on the conservative Fox News network, the attorney added: “We have made efforts over many weeks to reach an accommodation with the committee.”
But he said the committee’s approach to negotiations and to other witnesses meant Meadows would withdraw cooperation.
Capitol attack committee has ‘no choice’ but to advance contempt proceedings against Meadows
The House select committee investigating the Capitol insurrection has indicated it will advance a measure to hold former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in criminal contempt for refusing to cooperate with the panel.
The Democratic chair of the committee, Bennie Thompson, has released a letter to Meadows’ attorney, George Terwilliger, indicating the panel’s plans.
“The Select Committee is left with no choice but to advance contempt proceedings and recommend that the body in which Mr. Meadows once served refer him for criminal prosecution,” Thompson said.
The news comes one day after Meadows indicated he would no longer cooperate with investigators, claiming the committee is disrespecting Donald Trump’s claims of executive privilege over certain records.
A group of senators held a press conference this morning to voice their criticism of the overhaul of the military justice system included in the House-passed version of the National Defense Authorization Act.
Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who has been pushing for an overhaul for years, argued the House’s proposal would not deliver justice for sexual assault survivors in the military.
Republican Senator Joni Ernst, a military veteran and a sexual assault survivor, said she was “disappointed” in the efforts to change Gillibrand’s original proposal and called for a standalone vote on that measure.
Under Gillibrand’s bill, the prosecution of serious crimes, including sexual assault, would be entirely removed from the chain of command. Under the House-passed approval, military commanders would still conduct the trials.
“As someone who’s been a prosecutor, it makes no sense,” Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal said of the House proposal.
The House-passed version of the defense bill includes an overhaul of the military justice system aimed at combating sexual assault against service members.
The final version of the bill calls for the appointment of special prosecutors outside the chain of command to handle the prosecution of sexual assault, murder and kidnapping, among other crimes.
However, the new system would still allow military commanders to conduct the trials and choose jury members, a provision that sparked fierce criticism from advocates.
Four men behind closed doors gutted our landmark military justice reform bill in the NDAA — ignoring the calls of survivors, service members, and veterans. Enough is enough. Our bill has the support of a majority of Congress. I’m calling for a full floor vote to #PassMJIIPA.
December 7, 2021
Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who has pushed for an overhaul of the military justice system for years, argued the proposal was grossly insufficient and pledged to keep fighting for further change.
“As sexual assault survivor advocates warned would happen for months, House and Senate Armed Services leadership have gutted our bipartisan military justice reforms behind closed doors, doing a disservice to our service members and our democracy,” Gillibrand said in a statement.
“This bill represents a major setback on behalf of service members, women and survivors in particular. However, we will not stop seeking true military justice reforms for our brave service members and I will continue to call for an up or down floor vote.”
House passes $768bn defense bill in bipartisan vote, despite progressive criticism
Greetings from Washington, live blog readers.
The House passed a $768bn defense bill last night, in a vote of 363-70, with 169 Democrats and 194 Republicans backing the compromise measure.
The National Defense Authorization Act includes a 2.7% pay raise for troops, an overhaul of the military justice system aimed at combating sexual assault and a $25bn bump in spending over what Joe Biden had requested.
Some progressives, who had hoped to curb military spending now that Democrats control both chambers of Congress and the White House, complained about the higher price tag of the bill.
“It is astounding how quickly Congress moves weapons but we can’t ensure housing, care, and justice for our veterans, nor invest in robust jobs programs for districts like mine,” congressman Jamaal Bowman said.
Congressman Jamaal Bowman
$770 Billion to the Pentagon just easily passed the house 363-70.
I voted No.
It is astounding how quickly Congress moves weapons but we can’t ensure housing, care, and justice for our veterans, nor invest in robust jobs programs for districts like mine.
December 8, 2021
But Democratic leaders defended the final version of the bill, arguing it will help ensure America’s military readiness in a rapidly changing world.
“The House, under the leadership of Chairman Adam Smith, has passed a strong, bipartisan defense bill that will keep America safe, defend our servicemembers and their families and advance our nation’s leadership in the world,” House speaker Nancy Pelosi said.
“As the House sends this legislation to the Senate, we will continue to deliver results for the people.”
The blog will have more coming up, so stay tuned.