Mark Meadows, chief of staff for former President Donald Trump, will cooperate with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 incidents at the Capitol and will appear for an initial interview, according to committee chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss.
"Mr. Meadows has been engaging with the Select Committee through his attorney. He has produced records to the committee and will soon appear for an initial deposition," Thompson said in a statement Tuesday.
"The Select Committee expects all witnesses, including Mr. Meadows, to provide all information requested and that the Select Committee is lawfully entitled to receive. The committee will continue to assess his degree of compliance with our subpoena after the deposition."
Meadows' move heads off a referral for charges of criminal contempt of Congress, such as former Trump adviser Steve Bannon is facing.
George Terwilliger, Meadows' attorney, confirmed to CNN in a statement that there is an understanding between the committee and Meadows about how information can be exchanged.
He also said that both parties are open to engaging on a certain set of topics while dealing with information that could end up falling under executive privilege.
However, CNN reports that the agreement may be short-lived if the sides don't agree on the privileged information question.
The news broke while Trump's lawyers are arguing in federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday about whether the former president can assert executive privilege. The White House confirmed in October that President Joe Biden rejected Trump's bid to invoke executive privilege on documents related to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
"As we have from the beginning, we continue to work with the Select Committee and its staff to see if we can reach an accommodation that does not require Mr. Meadows to waive Executive Privilege or to forfeit the long-standing position that senior White House aides cannot be compelled to testify before Congress," Terwilliger said in his statement to CNN. "We appreciate the Select Committee's openness to receiving voluntary responses on non-privileged topics."
Several sources told CNN that Meadows is showing that he's willing to cooperate with the committee. However, the extent to how much he's willing to cooperate is still not known, and even the agreement has been reached, criminal contempt charges could still be filed if he tries to withhold too much information.
"It's not incorrect to say he has cooperated to some extent, but he hasn't completely fulfilled his obligation and we need to see what happens," a source told CNN. "But Meadows doesn't want to be held in contempt."
Bannon, meanwhile, faces two counts of contempt of Congress for failing to testify and to turn over documents after the committee issued a subpoena to him.
Former Department of Justice official Jeffrey Clark could also face criminal contempt charges. The committee will vote on whether to refer him on Wednesday.
"It is fair to say he is not Bannon, and he is not Clark," CNN's source continued. "He doesn't want to be. But how much he is cooperating, and how much he will cooperate remains an open question."
However, "we can tell the difference between someone who is stalling or faking, we don't think that's what is going on here," the source said.
Trump weighed in Tuesday on Clark, slamming the panel's action.
"Interesting to watch the Unselect Committee go after the gentleman at the Department of Justice who thought the Election was RIGGED, but not go after the people who did the RIGGING," Trump said in a statement released by his Save America PAC.
Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., said earlier this month that Meadows could have a "minor claim" for executive privilege, but the committee also has questions for him that have nothing to do with the conversations he had with Trump.
"His conversations about stopping a free and fair election, about criticizing and stopping the counting of electoral votes, about his coordination with campaign officials on private devices that were not turned over, all of those issues are not privilege worthy and he has some explaining to do," Aguilar said.
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