Mark Meadows, Jim Jordan step forward to fight Pelosi's Jan. 6 witch hunt
Mark Meadows, former chief of staff to President Trump, filed an amicus curiae brief in the Supreme Court, January 7, in support of the former president's claim that his official papers should be covered by executive privilege and not released to the Jan. 6 House Select Committee. The matter is now on appeal before the Supreme Court as a result of the ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upholding the decision by President Biden that executive privilege is not justified to keep the Trump papers from the Select Committee. The appellate ruling from Judge Patricia Millett included the curious assertion, at the top, of "multiple" deaths at the Capitol, January 6, 2021, with the added contention that the Trump-supporting "mob" came armed with "weapons." The only violent death was that of Trump-supporter Ashli Babbitt, shot and killed by a Capitol cop. There were no reports of demonstrators carrying arms, to my knowledge.
A comment in the amicus brief goes to the heart of this matter. "For Executive Privilege to fulfill its intended purpose of allowing full and free communication among Presidential advisors, it must be able to survive a party change in the Presidency and a hostile Congress." If there were any doubt of the hostility that President Biden (and congressional Democrats) have for Donald J. Trump, those doubts should have been dispelled by the following excerpts from Mr. Biden's denunciation of his predecessor, January 6, 2022.
And here's the truth: the former president of the United States of America has created and spread a web of lies about the 2020 election. He's done so because he values power over principle.
Because he sees his own interest as more important than his country's interest and America's interest. And because his bruised ego matters more to him than our democracy or our constitution. He can't accept he lost. Even though that's what 93 United States senators, his own attorney general, his own vice president, governors and state officials in every battleground state have all said: he lost.
That's what 81 million of you did as you voted for a new way forward. He has done what no president in American history, the history of this country has ever, ever done. He refused to accept the results of an election and the will of the American people.
Judge Millett's ruling, if it is upheld, will, arguably, set a precedent that the Constitution accepts a predecessor's executive privilege rights to be held hostage by the succeeding, and hostile, president and Congress. At the very least, such a precedent would not encourage stability in transitions; more likely, it would encourage unconstitutional conduct by a rogue, vindictive Congress, issuing bills of attainder (banned in Article I, Section 9) against former presidents. In wrongly permitting the incumbent to erase his predecessor's executive privilege, the appellate court did nothing to contradict the contention of amicus Meadows that the subpoenas spewing from the Select Committee have a law enforcement purpose, not a legislative one.
Two days after Meadows filled his amicus brief with the Supreme Court, Rep. Jim Jordan sent a letter to January 6 Select Committee chair Bennie Thompson, rejecting the chair's request that Jordan appear before the panel that the Ohio congressman saw in the context of "Democrats' nonstop investigations and partisan witch hunts."
Calling Thompson's December 22 letter "an unprecedented and inappropriate demand" of a congressional colleague, Jordan wrote, "This request is from outside the bounds of any legitimate inquiry, violates core Constitutional principles, and would serve to further erode legislative norms." The ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee continued, "Your attempt to pry into the deliberative process informing a Member about legislative matters before the House is an outrageous abuse of the Select Committee's authority." Contending that Thompson's "unprecedented action serves no legitimate legislative purpose and would set a dangerous precedent for future Congresses, " Jordan noted that "[i]t is telling that the Select Committee has chosen only to target Republican Members with demands for testimony."
Rep. Jordan's letter further reminded Thompson that House Democrats, in their brief for the February 2021 impeachment, had already accused Mr. Trump of responsibility for January 6, accusing Republicans of "sedition" and calling them "traitors." Before concluding the January 9, 2022 letter, Mr. Jordan rebuked the Select Committee for having "abused fundamental civil liberties — investigating private citizens' political speech protected by the First Amendment, and seeking to impose gag orders on telecom and email companies to prevent them from notifying their customers that the Select Committee has demanded their data."
There should be little doubt that if a Republican committee consisting of Republicans and a couple of Democrat turncoats were to act so arbitrarily and high-handedly toward Democrats, the Democrats would rise up in solidarity, aided by the clamor of an outraged media establishment. Where Jim Jordan's signature was the only one on his letter to Chair Thompson, a similar letter from a Democrat to a Republican chair would have included more than two hundred Democrats.
But the Jordan letter, with the Meadows brief in support of former President Trump, point to positive activity on the patriotic front in this political war to keep alive our legacy of liberty.
Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.