A report released on Sunday recommending arresting Trump administration chief of staff Mark Meadows for disobeying Congress claims he said National Guard forces would protect supporters of President Donald Trump on Jan. 6.
In bullet points listing urgent questions for Meadows, the report by the House committee investigating the Capitol riot cited an email it allegedly sent on Jan. 5 about the safety of Trump supporters, the next day take to the streets.
The recipient of the email is not identified.
“Mr. Meadows emailed someone about the January 6th events saying the National Guard would be there to ‘protect pro-Trump people’ and that many more would be on standby,” it said .
A Meadows attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The claim adds a different angle to the government’s response to the January 6 violence. Despite widespread predictions of possible civil unrest, the Capitol Police seemed overwhelmed by the incursion and the National Guard was slow to respond.
The report was released in support of a resolution that despised Meadows. A simple majority in the House of Representatives could suggest disregarding the Congressional quote, which would be referred to the Justice Department.
A federal grand jury last month indicted Steve Bannon, a former top Trump adviser, on two charges of disregard for Congress – one for refusing to appear and the other for refusing to provide documents requested by the committee.
Bannon pleaded not guilty on either count.
Meadows and Bannon have claimed they are exempt from law because they fall under executive privilege, the doctrine designed to protect certain communications with the President so that White House leaders can freely navigate and respond to crises. Bannon left the White House in 2017 but had a relationship with Trump.
“The Special Committee is confident that there is no conceivable claim to executive immunity or privileges that would prohibit all motions from the Special Committee or justify Mr Meadows’ blanket refusal to appear for the required testimony,” the report said.
Meadows failed to appear on proposed testimony before committee investigators twice this fall, despite showing documents that would form part of his testimony, the report said. Other documents, it said, may have been misplaced.
“It appears that Mr. Meadows has failed to meet the legal requirements for the retention or archiving of documents under the Presidential Records Act,” the report said.
The special committee to investigate the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol is trying to determine if high-level political organizing was behind the violence in which Trump supporters stormed the Capitol to thwart Congress’ approval of the 2020 presidential election by Joe Biden.
The panel has alleged that Meadows was aware of Trump’s January 6th activity and appeared to be in contact with organizers of a rally near the Capitol that day.
“Mr. Meadows has been in contact with at least some of the private individuals who planned and organized a rally for January 6th, one of whom reportedly may have raised Mr. Meadows safety concerns about the January 6th events,” it said Report.
Meadows received a text message from an organizer of the rally on the Ellipse, apparently as people were moving toward the Capitol and looking for direction after things “went crazy,” the report said.
The report also suggests that the committee believes Meadows has vital information about Trump’s request to the Georgian Foreign Minister to “find” an exact number of votes that would undo his loss there.