The select congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 rioting at the U.S. Capitol unanimously voted Monday to recommend contempt of Congress charges against Mark Meadows, the former chief of staff in the Trump administration.
Ahead of the vote, committee member Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Ariz.) read text messages from Donald Trump Jr. and various Fox News hosts on Jan. 6 calling for then-President Donald Trump to tell his supporters to stop rioting.
“Mark, the president needs to tell people in the capitol to go home,” read one text from Laura Ingraham to Meadows. “This is hurting all of us. He is destroying his legacy.”
“Please, get him on TV, destroying everything you have accomplished,” texted Brian Kilmeade.
“Can he make a statement? Ask people to leave the capitol?” texted Sean Hannity.
“He’s got to condemn this s*** ASAP,” texted his son to Meadows. “The Capitol Police tweet is not enough.”
“I am pushing it hard, I agree,” texted Meadows back.
Cheney said that Trump Jr. went on to demand Meadows have Trump take action during the rioting via text.
“We need an Oval Office address. He has to lead now. It has gone too far and gotten out of hand,” read the texts from Trump Jr.
Cheney noted that Trump did not take action to stop the rioting for many hours and implied that he did so intentionally.
“Did Donald Trump, through action or inaction, corruptly seek to obstruct or impede Congress’s proceedings?” she asked rhetorically.
The matter will go to a full vote in the Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives, which could vote as early as Tuesday.
The House had previously already voted to hold Steve Bannon, Trump’s former campaign adviser, in contempt after he refused the subpoenas issued to him. He later turned himself in in November, but he vowed to fight the charges and warned that they would become the “misdemeanor from hell” for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and President Joe Biden.
Meadows has sued Pelosi and members of the Jan. 6 Committee over the subpoena. Prior to the lawsuit, he had already turned over 6,000 pages of documents to the committee including the texts that Chaney read Monday.