Georgia Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene has said that the text messages sent to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows during the 6 January Capitol riot urging him to get then-President Donald Trump to call off his supporters prove that Mr Trump is innocent of any wrongdoing in connection to the riot.
Mr Trump was impeached for inciting the insurrection by the House in February of this year, but the former president was acquitted in the Senate trial.
Fox News hosts, including Laura Ingraham, Brian Kilmeade, and Sean Hannity, texted Mr Meadows, asking him to push the then-president to speak out against the riot, and to tell his followers to stand down.
“I think the text messages just completely show that President Trump is innocent,” Ms Greene told right-wing network OAN on Tuesday. “All of us are innocent. The riot shouldn’t have happened and we were all against it just like we’ve said all along.”
The House voted on Tuesday to hold Mr Meadows in criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena from the Select Committee investigating 6 January.
The Department of Justice will now decide whether or not to pursue the matter. Contempt of Congress, a misdemeanour, can lead to up to one year in jail and as much as $100,000 in fines.
When speaking against the resolution to hold Mr Meadows in contempt, Ms Greene said: “I rise in opposition to this resolution to hold Mark Meadows in contempt of Congress because it’s being held by nothing but a kangaroo court. Congress’s job is to make laws, not enforce them.”
“Just what I’ve seen, I have not spoken to anyone, it seems to me he is worthy of being held in contempt,” President Joe Biden said on Wednesday.
Last week, only days after saying he would cooperate with the Select Committee, Mr Meadows changed his mind, saying that the House panel was trying to get him to speak about matters that Mr Trump has said is protected by executive privilege. Claims of executive privilege from both Mr Meadows and Mr Trump have been challenged in courts and by constitutional scholars.
“If you’re making excuses to avoid cooperating with our investigation, you’re making excuses to hide the truth from the American people about what happened on January 6th,” committee chairman Rep Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, said during the House debate. “You’re making excuses as part of a coverup.”
“January 6th was without precedent,” Ms Cheney said. “There has been no stronger case in our nation’s history for a congressional investigation into the actions of a former president. This body must investigate the facts in detail, and we are entitled to ask Mr Meadows about the non-privileged materials he has produced to us.”
The texts were released on Monday by the House Select Committee.
“He’s got to condemn this sASAP. The Capitol Police tweet is not enough,” Donald Trump Jr wrote to Mr Meadows.
“I’m pushing it hard,” Mr Meadows responded. “I agree.”
“We need an Oval Office address. He has to lead now,” Mr Trump Jr added. “It has gone too far and gotten out of hand.”
“Mark, the president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home,” Ingraham wrote. “This is hurting all of us. He is destroying his legacy.”
“Please, get him on TV. Destroying everything you have accomplished,” Kilmeade texted.
“Can he make a statement? Ask people to leave the Capitol,” Hannity asked Mr Meadows.