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Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to cooperate with Jan. 6 committee

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Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to cooperate with Jan. 6 committee
Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has defied a subpoena from the House committee investigating the January 6 Capitol attack. File Photo by Chip Somodevilla/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 30 (UPI) -- Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has reached a deal to cooperate with U.S. lawmakers investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, Rep. Bennie Thompson announced Tuesday.

Thompson, who is chairman of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol, said Meadows has been interacting with the panel through his attorney.

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"He has produced records to the committee and will soon appear for an initial deposition," Thompson, D-Miss., said in a statement. "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."

The announcement came as a federal appellate court questioned lawyers for former President Donald Trump about his crusade to keep hundreds of official White House records away from the committee.

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The attorneys presented their arguments before the District of Columbia U.S. Court of Criminal Appeals, saying Trump can invoke executive privilege to keep the documents and phone call logs away from House investigators. Judges Ketanji Brown Jackson, Patricia Millett and Robert Wilkins heard the arguments.

The House January 6 Select Committee convenes to investigate the attack at the U.S. Capitol, in Washington, D.C., on October 19. File Photo by Tasos Katopodis/UPI

The panel is examining the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol by radical supporters of the former president, who were actively looking to interfere in Congress' certification of Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election.

The Jan. 6 committee said it should have the right to see the documents, which are stored at the National Archives and Records Administration, the custodian of Trump's White House records.

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The documents are needed, the panel says, to properly carry out the investigation and determine what Trump knew before, during and after the attack.

"This all boils down to who decides," Jackson said during Tuesday's hearing, according to CNBC. "Who decides when it's in the best interest of the United States to disclose presidential records? Is it the current occupant of the White House or the former?"

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Politico reported that the panel appeared ready to reject Trump's claims of executive privilege.

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"We have one president at a time under our Constitution." Millett said. "That incumbent president ... has made the judgment and is best positioned, as the Supreme Court has told us, to make that call as to the interests of the executive branch."

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan rejected Trump's claims of executive privilege in a lower court and declined to impede the committee's access to the documents while the issue was decided, but the appeals court temporarily halted the transfer until Tuesday's hearing.

Trump has asserted executive privilege over 763 pages related to the Capitol attack, many of which were talking points prepared for his press secretary. They also include presidential schedules, appointments, activity logs, call logs and other relevant documents.

The NARA is still reviewing thousands of pages that might be challenged.

The appellate court's action is part of numerous efforts by Trump and former aides to deny the Jan. 6 committee information. Former adviser Steve Bannon has defied subpoenas from the committee, arguing that he was following Trump's lead in claiming executive privilege.

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The Justice Department has charged Bannon with criminal contempt.

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