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Mark Meadows claims US Capitol attack panel leaked texts to belittle him

Donald Trump’s last White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, has accused the congressional committee investigating the US Capitol attack of leaking all the text messages he provided in what he says is an effort to belittle him publicly.

The argument was made in a filing on Friday in federal court in Washington, where Meadows sued in December to invalidate subpoenas issued for his testimony and to Verizon for his cellphone records.

In the latest filing, lawyers asked a judge to reject the committee’s request for a ruling that could force Meadows to comply with the subpoenas. The committee requested an expedited briefing schedule on Wednesday after filing its motion the previous week.

The lawyers say Meadows deserves a chance through the fact-gathering process known as discovery to gather information about questions still in dispute, such as the committee’s claims that Trump did not properly invoke executive privilege over the items subpoenaed because he did not communicate that position directly.

“Mr Meadows cannot possibly know whether that unsupported contention is true without discovery – or whether the select committee had awareness of former president Trump’s assertions,” the motion states.

It adds that Meadows must have the ability to obtain any communications between the committee and Trump and possibly to take depositions of people familiar with those discussions.

The House voted in December to hold Meadows in criminal contempt after he ceased cooperating, referring the matter to the justice department, which has not said if it will take action. Meadows’ legal team has said he provided extensive cooperation but that the committee refused to respect Trump’s assertion of executive privilege.

The motion by Meadows also accuses the committee of waging a “sustained media campaign” against him. Though it does not provide evidence, it says the committee has leaked all of the text messages Meadows has produced.

“The congressional defendants, under the auspices of a legitimate subpoena, induced Mr Meadows to produce thousands of his private communications only to use them in a concerted and ongoing effort to vilify him publicly through the media,” Meadows’ attorney, George Terwilliger, wrote in the motion.

Court filings by the committee have shown Meadows was in regular contact before 6 January 2021 with Republican allies who advanced false claims of election fraud and supported overturning the race won by Joe Biden.

A filing a week ago cited testimony from a White House aide who said Meadows was advised there could be violence on 6 January.

The committee declined through a spokesperson to comment about Meadows’ accusations against the panel

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