House subpoenas Meadows contact who pushed false fraud claim

National
Bennie Thompson, Liz Cheney

Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., of the House panel investigating the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection, testify before the House Rules Committee seeking contempt of Congress charges against former President Donald Trump’s White House chief of staff Mark Meadows for not complying with a subpoena, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021. A House vote to hold him in contempt would refer the charges to the Justice Department, which will decide whether to prosecute the former Republican congressman. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection is subpoenaing James P. “Phil” Waldron, a onetime contact of former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows who the panel says pushed false claims about fraud in the 2020 presidential election.

The Democratic chairman of the committee, Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, cited reports of Waldron’s communications with Meadows and members of Congress about his unfounded theories in the weeks before the insurrection by former President Donald Trump’s supporters.

Thompson also cited a PowerPoint presentation that the committee said he used to brief members of Congress, calling it “an alarming blueprint” for overturning Trump’s defeat.

“The select committee’s investigation and public reports have revealed credible evidence that you have information concerning attempts to disrupt or delay the certification of the 2020 election results,” Thompson wrote in the subpoena.

The committee said Waldron “reportedly claimed to have visited the White House on multiple occasions after the election” and had spoken to Meadows eight to 10 times.

Trump at the time was pushing false claims of widespread voter fraud and lobbying Vice President Mike Pence and Republican members of Congress to try to overturn the count at the Jan. 6 congressional certification. Election officials across the country, along with the courts, had repeatedly dismissed Trump’s claims.

The angry mob of Trump’s supporters were echoing his false claims as they brutally beat police and broke into the building that day, interrupting the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory.

Meadows’ contacts before the insurrection have become an intense focus for the committee after the former Republican congressman provided the panel with thousands of his emails and texts connected to the attack. The House voted to hold Meadows in contempt this week after he later said he would no longer cooperate.

The panel described several of Meadows’ communications as it made the case for contempt. Lawmakers said one of Meadows’ emails referenced a 38-page PowerPoint titled “Election Fraud, Foreign Interference & Options for 6 JAN,” which was intended to be shared on Capitol Hill.

Waldron is one of more than 40 people subpoenaed by the committee. The panel has already interviewed around 300 people as it seeks to create a comprehensive record of the attack and the events leading up to it.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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