Rejecting claims of privilege, U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell has ordered former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to testify before a grand jury investigating the deadly January 6, 2021 insurrection, according to multiple reports Friday.
In a sealed decision last week, then-Chief Judge Beryl Howell rejected Meadows’ executive privilege challenge to a subpoena issued by special counsel Jack Smith demanding his testimony and related documents.
Howell also rejected subpoena challenges from other former Trump Administration officials, including former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, former national security adviser Robert O’Brien and former Department of Homeland Security official Ken Cuccinelli.
Former advisers Stephen Miller, Nick Luna and John McEntee were also reportedly ordered to testify.
Meadows’ former aide Cassidy Hutchinson became a star witness during the House Select January 6 Committee’s televised hearings last year. Amid her testimony, she spoke of her exasperation at Meadows’ lack of urgency as rioters violently stormed the U.S. Capitol building.
In response to her question, “The rioters are getting really close. Have you talked with the President?” Meadows said, “No, he wants to be alone right now,” according to her testimony.
She further testified that when then-White House counsel Pat Cipollone pressed Meadows to join him in urging Trump to act, Meadows replied, “He doesn’t want to do anything, Pat.”
And in a batch of documents released by the committee in late December it was revealed that Hutchinson had testified that she saw Meadows burn documents in his office fireplace around a dozen times—about once or twice a week—between December 2020 and mid-January 2021. She said the burnings occurred at least twice after meetings with Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), who had been linked to efforts to use the Department of Justice to overturn the 2020 election.
Trump’s legal team is expected to appeal Howell’s decision
A Trump spokesperson slammed the decision, accusing the DOJ of “continuously stepping far outside the standard norms in attempting to destroy the long accepted, long held, Constitutionally based standards of attorney-client privilege and executive privilege.”