by Melissa Mackenzie
Yesterday, former Rep. Mark Meadows was held in contempt by the same House he once served in before his appointment as former President Donald J. Trump’s last chief of staff. Meadows had been complying with Nancy Pelosi’s appointed select committee tasked with looking into January 6 until it went too far.
Meadows is now suing Pelosi and the select committee.
In retaliation, the committee read out texts, and doctored texts, on Monday between Meadows and Fox News hosts and the president’s son. It was lost on Democrats and the media that the text messages actually prove there was no attempted coup from within the Trump administration or his family.
Meadows’ lawsuit is serious but will D.C.’s political judges allow it to be heard on its merits or the politics of post-January 6?
The 43-page complaint not only declares his two subpoenas “overly broad and unduly burdensome,” but also says that the committee is illegally and unconstitutionally assembled, breaking House Rules and tradition. Joel B. Pollak, a lawyer and editor over at Breitbart, agrees.
Nearly one-third of the complaint is dedicated to a subpoena Verizon received that Meadows seeks to quash. It’s going overlooked by nearly all in the media — and that includes conservative media. This part of the complaint has the most profound civil liberties implications not just for those being deposed by the select committee but for all Americans.
Even if Meadows cannot quash his own two subpoenas, if he quashes or limits the scope of the Verizon subpoena, it’ll be a civil liberties win for all Americans.
It’s been reported, by CNN (which seems to be a dumping ground for committee members and their staff violating the secrecy laws they’re bound by), that more than 100 others have had their cell phone records seized by this committee. Other telecoms besides Verizon have had records requested from them but Verizon seems to be the only company notifying named subscribers. Are other cell phone providers just turning over this information without notifying their customers?
At this writing, we learn that the select committee has also subpoenaed Republican members of Congress including one member who was booted off the select committee by Nancy Pelosi herself, Jim Jordan. The members are: Lauren Boebert, Andy Biggs, Mo Brooks, Madison Cawthorn, Matt Gaetz, Louie Gohmert, Paul Gosar, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Jody Hice, Jim Jordan, and Scott Perry. This is unprecedented.
Where is the ACLU? The American Spectator‘s request for comment has not been answered. We will publish their statement should we receive one. How would members of this select committee act if a Republican-appointed only committee investigated “Black Lives Matter” activists and seized their private phone records for months surrounding the summer riots that took place last year? How many Democrat congressmen and women and journalists would be affected by that sort of search? We know, for example, that CNN and NBC both paid Antifa-associated activists to document the January 6 protest and ended up filming, and laughing at, Ashli Babbit’s killing as it happened. What connections do the legacy media have to BLM and Antifa terrorists? Do Democrats want to set the precedent that a committee such as this is uninhibited from finding out by investigating fellow members?
It’s not just the 100-plus citizens that have been named in subpoenas given to AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and others. How many elected officials, journalists, acquaintances, family, and activists’ data are being scooped up by the select committee? How is this constitutional?
The subpoenas include all individuals on the subscriber’s account and everyone those people messaged or spoke to. The time frame the committee demands data on is far-reaching: any and all contact with the individual for two to three months prior to January 6 and all the way to January 31, 2021. This is tens of thousands of moms, children, clergy, reporters, and Republican and conservative influencers who were in touch with everyone from White House aides to prominent activists.
Paul Kamenar is a conservative constitutional lawyer with lengthy bonafides dating back to the Reagan era. In the past, he represented clients like the late Sen. Barry Goldwater by suing Jimmy Carter for unilaterally terminating our defense treaty with Taiwan, Rep. Louie Gohmert when he took on Obamacare, and Roger Stone. He also challenged the constitutionality of the Mueller investigation. He represents the National Legal and Policy Center by filing ethics complaints against the likes of Sen. Chuck Schumer, who, as Kamenar notes, stood on the steps of the Supreme Court while the Court was hearing an abortion case and threatened violence against two justices. His organization has also filed ethics complaints against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Kamenar characterizes Meadows’ complaint as well-founded and legally supported. He notes that congressional inquiries are rarely limited by courts but suggested that this committee, which is operating with a lot of first-ever’s, is not legally constituted and its subpoena to Verizon overly broad and impinging on First Amendment rights.
Kamenar was in front of the committee for over eight hours last Thursday, December 9, with client Ali Alexander, the activist who started the Stop the Steal movement that saw peaceful protests in all 50 states after Election Day. Alexander is a private citizen and has never served in government. His deposition was compelled under subpoena and the threat of imprisonment by Nancy Pelosi’s Democrats and two Republicans he’s campaigned against.
Kamenar says that the tone of the deposition was “inquisitorial and hostile. They treated it more like a federal prosecutor would and one questioner was a former federal prosecutor.”
Kamenar continued, “Ali was very forthcoming with the committee.” He did wonder, though, how many of the questions related to the stated task of the select committee which is ostensibly to find ways to make the Capitol more secure should protestors be aggressive in the future.
Kamenar says that his client had the truth on his side and did not plan or participate in any violence or vandalism. Indeed, video shows Alexander urging the crowd not to enter the Capitol. The attorney says that he believes the committee is satisfied. “Mr. Alexander answered every question truthfully and thoroughly and demonstrated he had nothing to do with any violence on January 6.”
Though Alexander remains in compliance, on Tuesday his lawyers asked Verizon to withhold his phone records until the Meadows case is decided by a judge, The American Spectator can exclusively report. Alexander may be joining that suit or taking other action.
He and his team see this as a way of protecting the First and Fourth Amendments, respectively. They also agree with Meadows’ complaint and his argument that providing phone records to the committee violates the Stored Communications Act.
“We have complied with the committee, giving them responsive documents while volunteering others that may be relevant to their inquiry. We’ve also provided testimony about those documents and answered the questions that the committee had,” Kamenar explained.
“However, the select committee’s powers aren’t unlimited and demanding that third parties provide Mr. Alexander’s phone records data, without an opportunity to object or protect privileged data, appears unconstitutional.”
He went on to say, “this exceeds the legal authority of this committee. Again, Mr. Alexander complied by submitting hundreds of documents and testifying for eight hours and understands they have a job to do. Mr. Alexander has a job to do as well and that is to protect the constitutional and civil liberties he started a movement around.” Kamenar also noted that the watchdog whistleblower group Project on Government Oversight (POGO) sent a strong letter to the committee decrying the committee’s search for private telephone data, which can only lead to further harassment of those whose number appears on the phone records. The American Spectator requested comment from POGO. There has been no response as of this writing.
Alexander’s team says he has nothing to hide in his Verizon records but that the Constitution doesn’t allow for such a fishing expedition. They believe he’s in a unique position to fight for others caught up in the process.
Meadows and lawyer John Eastman, through his own counsel, are making more expanded arguments than Alexander. Alexander’s team is hyper-focused on just the Verizon subpoena since he’s already complied.
The American Spectator can exclusively report that Mark Meadows and Ali Alexander have not spoken and have no records connecting the two. This has been a question circulating in left-wing conspiracy circles and made its way all the way to the select committee. Kamenar says that his client testified that he doesn’t recall any interactions between his Stop the Steal group and Mark Meadows and “certainly none between himself and the chief of staff that he can recall.”
Where are Nancy Pelosi’s phone records? She was in charge of Capitol security on January 6? Why did she reject the 10,000 National Guardsmen offered by Trump and his Pentagon? When will Pelosi be appearing before the committee?
Jeff Lord, writing for The American Spectator, is right: Pelosi should be investigated.
As I wrote earlier this week, this committee is a hoax — a literal witch hunt.
Trump is right to call it the “Unselect Committee” because it seeks to make sure the conservative movement is busy litigating its own freedoms while Democrats about to lose the House fight hostile public opinion due to their failed policies. More than that, the committee wants to ensure Trump is unable to mount a presidential campaign for 2024 because his trusted advisors and key activists are being persecuted.
Americans should take this unserious group of people seriously because they want opposition dossiers on the organized Right. With the broadness of the subpoenas, the Left will have a near-complete blacklist of anyone effective in the Right-of-Center movement.
– – –
Melissa Mackenzie is Publisher of The American Spectator. Melissa commentates for the BBC and has appeared on Fox. Her work has been featured at The Guardian, PJ Media, and was a front page contributor to RedState. Melissa commutes from Houston, Texas to Alexandria, VA. She lives in Houston with her two sons, one daughter, and two diva rescue cats. You can follow Ms. Mackenzie on Twitter: @MelissaTweets.
Photo “Nancy Pelosi Shakes Hands With Donald Trump” by Office of Public Affairs. CC BY 2.0.