U.S. House panel details case against former top Trump aide Meadows

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WASHINGTON, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Mark Meadows, who served as Republican former President Donald Trump's chief of staff, said in an email ahead of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot that the U.S. National Guard would "protect pro-Trump people," a congressional committee said in a report issued on Sunday.

The U.S. House of Representatives committee investigating the deadly riot recommends in the report that Meadows be prosecuted for refusing to fully cooperate with its inquiry. The committee is due to vote on the issue on Monday.

Meadow's Jan. 5 email about the National Guard, in which he indicated troops would be present and more would be on standby, was one of the issues the committee was hoping to question him about, it said in the report.

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Meadows has been called repeatedly to appear for depositions before the Democratic-led Select Committee and has declined to do so despite being subpoenaed. While he has turned over some information requested by the panel, he has held back many documents, arguing they are protected because his testimony may be covered by executive privilege because he was working for the president.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speaks to reporters following a television interview, outside the White House in Washington, U.S. October 21, 2020. REUTERS/Al Drago/File Photo

"To be clear, Mr Meadows' failure to comply, and this contempt recommendation, are not based on good-faith disagreements over privilege assertions," the committee said.

"Rather, Mr Meadows has failed to comply and warrants contempt findings because he has wholly refused to appear to provide any testimony."

A House member before joining the Trump administration, Meadows could become the third associate of the former Republican president to face a criminal contempt charge. The Justice Department, at the House's request, has already brought similar charges against Trump's former chief strategist, Steve Bannon. The House is also considering similar action against former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark.

Meadows has filed a lawsuit against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Select Committee, accusing it of violating legal protections for a senior adviser to a president and using excessively broad subpoenas to obtain his mobile telephone data.

Trump, at a rally on Jan. 6, repeated his unfounded allegation that his loss to Democratic President Joe Biden in the November 2020 election was the result of fraud, and urged his supporters to march on the Capitol.

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Reporting by Lawrence Hurley. Additional reporting by Patricia Zengerle.

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