Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has been subpoenaed by the Justice Department’s special counsel investigating Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, according to media reports.
The summons for Meadows, a central figure in Trump’s campaign to cling to power, was disclosed as former Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday that he would challenge a separate subpoena from special counsel Jack Smith seeking his testimony in the Jan. 6 inquiry.
The Meadows’ subpoena was first reported by CNN.
The Justice Department declined comment. Meadows and his lawyers also did not respond to requests for comment.
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Meadows emerged as one of Trump’s most active surrogates following the president’s failed reelection bid, repeatedly pressing the Justice Department to launch investigations into baseless allegations of election fraud.
The former White House chief of staff helped arrange a Jan. 2, 2021 telephone call in which Trump pressured Georgia election chief Brad Raffensperger to “find… 11,780 votes” to deny Biden’s victory in the key battleground state. Meadows also was privy to Trump’s inaction at the White House on Jan. 6, 2021 as a mob of supporters stormed the Capitol.
Coupled with the subpoena for Pence, the Meadows summons is the latest signal that the special counsel’s Jan. 6. inquiry has likely intensified. Smith also is overseeing a separate investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents.
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Meadows had resisted a subpoena for his testimony in a House committee’s investigation into the Capitol attack. He also had been summoned in a separate criminal investigation into election interference led by Atlanta-area District Attorney Fani Willis.
It was immediately unclear whether Meadows would comply with the Justice subpoena.
Pence, meanwhile, addressed the special counsel’s summons for the first time Wednesday at an event in Iowa, calling the action “unprecedented and unconstitutional.”
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“We’ll stand on that principle, and we’ll take that case as far as it needs to go – if need be to the Supreme Court of the United States,” Pence said. “Because to me, it’s an issue of the separation of powers. “
Pence argued he is shielded by the Constitution’s “speech or debate clause,” which protects members of Congress from law enforcement scrutiny over their speech and debate in the chamber. The clause says they “shall not be questioned in any other place.”
As vice president, Pence also served as president of the Senate.
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Contributing: Brianne Pfannenstiel
Story Credit: usatoday.com