Meadows suing Pelosi, Jan. 6 committee

( So much can change is such a short period of time.

Only days after he indicated that he would cooperate with the House special committee investigating the incidents of January 6, Mark Meadows, the former chief of staff in the Trump administration, changed his mind and informed the panel he woudn’t cooperate.

Now, only a day after that change of heart, Meadows has filed a lawsuit against the committee and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in advance of him likely facing his own case of criminal contempt of Congress for not cooperating with the committee’s subpoena.

On Wednesday, lawyers for Meadows filed a civil complaint that argued the panel doesn’t hold any authority to issue subpoenas that are directed at him, nor do they have a right to obtain Meadows’ phone records from his cellphone provider.

In addition, the lawyers argue that legal action should be required to decide the constitutionality of whether President Joe Biden should be able to refuse to assert claims of executive privilege that have been put forth by former President Donald Trump and his allies in seeking to block the committee from gaining information.

In the complaint, the lawyers write:

“Mr. Meadows, a witness, has been put in the untenable position of choosing between conflicting privilege claims that are of constitutional origin and dimension and having to either risk enforcement of the subpoena issued to him, not merely by the House of Representatives, but through actions by the Executive and Judicial Branches, or, alternatively, unilaterally abandoning the former president’s claims of privileges and immunities. Thus, Mr. Meadows turns to the courts to say what the law is.”

Meadows’ lawyers argue the former chief of staff believed the House panel would “act in good faith” when he provided them with documents they requested. However, he learned only recently that members of the committee sent a subpoena to Verizon to obtain Meadows’ phone records.

Verizon then sent a letter to Meadows over the weekend informing him they would comply with that subpoena by a December 15 deadline, unless a court of law instructed them not to.

Despite the lawsuit, members of the House committee plan to plow forward. In a statement issued on Wednesday, the chair and vice chair of the committee, Bennie Thompson and Liz Cheney, respectively, said:

“Mr. Meadows’s flawed lawsuit won’t succeed at slowing down the Select Committee’s investigation or stopping us from getting the information we’re seeking. The Select Committee will meet next week to advance a report recommending that the House cite Mr. Meadows for contempt of Congress and refer him to the Department of Justice for prosecution.”

The DOJ has already pursued formal criminal contempt charges against Steve Bannon, a former advisor to Trump. He was indicted recently and will face a formal criminal trial in July for refusing to comply with the House committee’s subpoena.

It’s possible, and maybe even likely, that Meadows will face the same fate. In the meantime, his lawyers are setting the groundwork for his anticipated defense by going on the offense with the lawsuit filed this week.