A federal judge dismissed former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows’ lawsuit on Monday that sought to block two subpoenas issued by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack at the U.S. Capitol.
U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols said the Constitution’s speech or debate clause covered the subpoenas and shielded lawmakers from civil suits linked to their legislative work.
“Without a doubt, the Select Committee’s investigation of the January 6th attack is legitimately tied to Congress’s legislative functions,” Nicholas wrote in a 27-page opinion. “The record makes clear that the challenged subpoenas are protected legislative acts.”
Meadows is likely to appeal the ruling, but the yearlong legal battle may be coming to a close anyways with the midterm elections next week. The House panel, which has spent more than a year probing the origins and aftermath of the Capitol insurrection, is likely to dissolve later this year if Republicans gain control of the chamber.
Meadows sued House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House select committee in December, saying at the time lawmakers had issued “two overly broad and unduly burdensome” subpoenas. Lawmakers on the panel sought to compel Meadows — a key ally of former President Donald Trump and an organizer of the effort to overturn the 2020 presidential race — to sit for a deposition.
Meadows was with Trump in the White House on Jan. 6, 2021, the day Trump supporters, incited the president’s speech earlier in the day, attacked the Capitol in an effort to thwart the certification of the Electoral College vote that Joe Biden had won.
Pelosi and the Jan. 6 committee also sought to obtain more than 1,000 documents Meadows withheld amid claims of executive privilege. Meadows had turned over about 2,300 texts early in the investigation.
Nichols said in his ruling that several issues related to Meadows and his compliance with the subpoena remain, including if a senior aide to a former president can be compelled to testify before Congress.