Thompson's third contempt threat in recent weeks is Thompson's. The committee has placed former Trump aide Steve Bannon under arrest for contempt of Congress. This charge was referred to the Justice Department last month, and remains pending. Thompson threatened contempt against Jeffrey Clark who was a former Justice Department official and helped Trump subvert the 2020 election results.
It is unclear if the Justice Department will act on the Bannon referral. Committee members stated that it was urgent for the department's immediate action or risk further stonewalling by Trump allies.
Terwilliger released a statement Thursday earlier claiming Meadows is immune from congressional testimony in accordance with long-standing Justice Department opinions. Terwilliger stated that President Joe Biden was "the first President to not make any effort to protect presidential communications from being subject to compelled testimony." Terwilliger also said that Meadows will accept an instruction from ex-President Donald Trump and refuse to cooperate.
Thompson pointed out that Justice Department opinions are not legally binding and that courts who have considered certain aspects of them all rejected the idea that presidential aides were "absolutely immun" to cooperating with congressional investigations. The legal opinions that the department relied upon in the past administrations only dealt with former presidents and not their aides.
On Thursday, the White House sought to support Thompson's position by sending Terwilliger a letter in which it expressed Biden's desire to waive executive privilege for testimony relating to the attack on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6.
Thompson wrote that your client was advised that "for that reason, and other reasons, an assertion of privilege with respect to testimony or documents' relevant to this Select Committee's investigation is not justified" and that "i) the President will no longer be asserting any claims to executive privilege and testimonial immunity concerning subjects the Select Committee seeks documents from Mr. Meadows."
Thompson stated that he expected Meadows would provide all pertinent documents and testimony by Friday, or face criminal and/or civil proceedings against him.
Thompson pointed out that Meadows did not intend to resist the requests of the committee. However, Meadows was required to appear before the committee and to assert any privileges that he believes would prevent him from testifying.
Thompson wrote that "If you feel that certain questions in that deposition raise legitimate privilege issues," Mr. Meadows should address them immediately on the record, for the Select Committee's review and possible judicial appeal.
Meadows believed that certain documents should not be made public. He also stated that the "privilege log", which Meadows created, should be used to help the committee evaluate his claims.
Thompson stated that Terwilliger didn't respond to previous inquiries, which have no conceivable nexus for executive privilege.
Thompson pointed out that "For instance, my most recent correspondence to you listed eight questions upon which the Select Committee seeks Mr. Meadows’s testimony regarding his use of personal cell devices and email accounts." "Your reply did not address these issues, but instead made broad and unspecified assertions of executive privilege and immunity.