Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows referred for criminal contempt of Congress in January 6 probe

A new report recommending former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows be held in criminal contempt of Congress for his refusal to comply with a subpoena provides new evidence that the White House was directing the stand-down of the military during the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

Trump supporters storm the Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) revealed that prior to the attack on the Capitol Meadows reassured an unidentified individual the National Guard would be deployed to “protect pro-Trump people.”

The report, which the committee approved by a 9-0 vote Monday night, cites evidence turned over by Trump’s former chief documenting the multifaceted effort by Trump, the Republican Party, and sections of the capitalist state to overturn the election of Joe Biden and keep Trump in the White House as a president-dictator.

The stunning revelation that Trump’s chief of staff was intimately involved in directing the response of the National Guard prior to the attack on the Capitol was one of many important details Thompson enumerated. He also listed a wide range of questions the select committee would have asked Trump’s co-conspirator had he appeared for his rescheduled deposition last week.

Thompson wrote: “We would have asked Mr. Meadows about emails regarding the deployment of the National Guard on January 6th, including a January 5th email from Mr. Meadows in which he indicates that the Guard would be present at the Capitol to, quote, ‘protect pro-Trump people,’ end quote.”

The email’s existence shovels another pile of dirt on the Department of Defense Inspector General report which claimed that the 199 minutes it took for D.C. National Guard soldiers, under the command of General William Walker, to deploy was “reasonable” and that “DoD officials did not delay or obstruct the DoD’s response ... on January 6, 2021.”

Walker and his aides have denounced the refusal of top Pentagon commanders to authorize deployment of his troops, which put hundreds of congressmen in danger of violent assault, kidnapping, or both, if the attackers had been able to find them inside the Capitol.

Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller played a key role in delaying the deployment of the D.C. National Guard to the Capitol. In the only public hearing where Miller testified following the coup attempt, he revealed that he and Trump discussed deploying the Guard to “protect the demonstrators that were executing their constitutionally protected rights.”

The failure of the National Guard to respond to the Capitol has never been explained by the Pentagon, and is continuously downplayed in the corporate press. However, nearly a year after Trump’s failed coup, and 10 months after the would-be dictator escaped impeachment for his crimes, a fuller picture of senior Pentagon officials’ role in delaying support is beginning to emerge.

Another significant detail revealed in Thompson’s report is that Mark Meadows was in “nonstop” communication with Kashyap “Kash” Patel, Miller’s chief of staff on January 6.

Thompson added: “Mr. Meadows apparently knows if and when Mr. Trump was engaged in discussions regarding the National Guard’s response to the Capitol riot, a point that is contested but about which Mr. Meadows provided documents to the Select Committee and spoke publicly on national television after President Trump left office.”

In the recently released Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show, author Jonathan Karl reported that on January 6, Patel did not see a role for the Department of Defense in protecting Congress as it was under attack.

Describing an interaction between Robert Karem , an aide for Senator Mitch McConnell , and Patel, Karl wrote that Karem, “called the Pentagon desperate for help.” Reaching Patel by phone, Karem explained that the Capitol was under attack and that the police were overwhelmed.

Despite Karem “pleading” with Patel to send help, “two sources” familiar with the conversation told Karl, “Patel brushed him off, suggesting the situation at the Capitol was not his responsibility.”

Unlike Meadows, Patel is cooperating with the committee, appearing for a closed-door deposition last week. In a statement following his appearance, Patel claimed that he has “always been willing and able to share with the Committee, and the American people, the truth about the events of January 6.”

Pointing to the key role the Democratic Party and the Biden administration have played in covering up Trump’s accomplices within the capitalist state, Patel added, “The DoD Inspector General, under the Biden Administration, found no wrongdoing in its report on Jan. 6, as I shared with the Committee.”

That Meadows was in constant contact with Miller’s chief of staff as lawmakers, soldiers and police were begging the Pentagon for support, only to be rebuffed, has no innocent explanation.

The claim that Trump’s coup was unforeseen , and the subsequent security stand-down was simply a “lack of imagination” on behalf of the multi-trillion-dollar US military-intelligence apparatus, suffered a further blow on Monday night.

In comments made prior to voting to hold Meadows in contempt, ranking Republican member on the select committee Liz Cheney (R-WY) revealed a series of text messages in which Meadows received advice from Fox News personalities, urging him to convince Trump to call off the coup, thus implicitly acknowledging Trump’s leading role. The messages were part of about 6,600 pages of records and about 2,000 text messages Meadows turned over to the committee, prior to ceasing his cooperation.

The arch-conservative war hawk Cheney has been far more critical of the role of Trump and the Republicans on January 6 than any of the Democrats on the committee. In introducing the texts, she said the “numerous messages” received by Meadows during the attack “leave no doubt, the White House knew exactly what was happening here at the Capitol.”

“Mark, the president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home. This is hurting all of us, he is destroying his legacy,” Fox host Laura Ingraham, texted Meadows, according to Cheney.

Mimicking Biden’s demand that Trump go on television in the middle of his coup, Fox spokesman, Brian Kilmeade asked Meadows to “Please get him on tv, destroying everything you’ve accomplished.”

Fox’s Sean Hannity wrote to Meadows, “Can he make a statement, ask people to leave the Capitol?”

All these reactionaries have now changed their tune, glorifying Trump and claiming that the investigation into January 6 is a politically motivated witch-hunt by the Democrats. In reality, the Democrats are doing as little as possible, while President Biden and the congressional leadership appeal endlessly for their Republican “colleagues” to join them in bipartisan dealmaking.

These revelations serve as a serious warning to the working class. There is no faction of the ruling class, or any of their institutions, committed to the defense of democratic rights. While the increasingly fascistic Republicans conspire with and protect the former president, the Democrats bend over backwards to shield these elements in the name of preserving a “strong” Republican Party.