U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols did not immediately rule on whether to issue subpoenaed notices to the commission on Jan. 6. Meadows’ lawyers say the messages are protected by executive privilege, which allows presidential communications with top aides to remain private, and that Meadows has “absolute immunity” from being called to testify.
The hearing comes days after a federal judge in Florida agreed to a third-party hearing in a separate case to determine whether documents seized at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort are protected by executives.
Meadows initially cooperated with the group on January 6 of last year, but later sued the group over subpoenas. The U.S. House of Representatives voted earlier this year to refer Meadows to the U.S. Department of Justice for contempt of Congress, but the department declined to indict him.
The select committee told the court it had narrowed down the information it wanted from Meadows, including what she experienced during the White House riots. House Attorney Douglas Letter argued those conversations were not protected because they did not involve official White House business.
The letter acknowledged that the group has not sought a court order to compel Meadows to appear before congressional investigators, but hopes to do so if the judge rejects Meadows’ legal arguments.
Meadows’ attorney, George Terwilliger, told the court that the former chief of staff had already provided the commission with all the non-privileged information it requested and had turned over a record of privileged material.
He said having Meadows testify would undermine the confidentiality normally afforded high-level White House discussions.
U.S. Justice Department attorney Elizabeth Shapiro told the court that the department does not believe absolute immunity applies to former top aides once the president leaves office, but it remains in place to protect high-level White House communications. .
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