Mark Meadows, Trump’s former chief of staff, has brought on a top Republican lawyer to handle the House’s Jan. 6 investigation.
Two people familiar with the matter told POLITICO that George Terwilliger, the deputy attorney general during the George H. W. Bush administration, is representing Meadows for the select committee’s inquiry into the Capitol attack. Terwilliger confirmed that he represents Meadows, who did not respond to a request for comment.
Terwilliger’s representation of Meadows, which CBS’s Ellis Kim first noted, signals that the former White House chief of staff is taking the select panel’s probe very seriously. The hiring also signals that Washington’s tight-knit conservative legal community is paying close attention to the issues the House investigation touches on — including executive privilege.
Terwilliger is influential and well known in the D.C. legal arena. He spent 15 years at the Justice Department, serving as deputy attorney general when former Trump DOJ chief Bill Barr had his first stint as attorney general and later assumed the top DOJ role in an acting capacity.
Over the years Terwilliger has worked on a host of politically charged legal fights, including on George W. Bush’s legal team during the 2000 Florida recount and representing Bush-era attorney general Alberto Gonzales in the wake of the U.S. attorneys scandal. More recently, Terwilliger represented former Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) when the Justice Department probed Schock for corruption. DOJ dropped the charges against Schock and reached a settlement with him.
Meadows, meanwhile, is a central focus for the Jan. 6 select committee.
The committee subpoenaed him on Sept. 23 and has since said that he’s engaging with its investigators. Steve Bannon, another Trump World denizen subpoenaed the same day, faces a criminal contempt vote Thursday after he stiff-armed the committee; Meadows faces no such public opprobrium.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the chair of the Jan. 6 panel, argued in a letter to Meadows that he has detailed knowledge of the events that the committee is scrutinizing.
“You were the president’s chief of staff and have critical information regarding many elements of our inquiry,” Thompson wrote in a letter accompanying the panel’s subpoena to Meadows. “It appears you were with or in the vicinity of President Trump on January 6, had communication with the president and others on January 6 regarding events at the Capitol and are a witness regarding the activities of the day.”
Meadows was backstage at the raucous National Mall rally that came immediately before Trump supporters attacked the Capitol. Donald Trump Jr. praised Meadows in a selfie video taken at that event.
“Mark Meadows, an actual fighter, one of the few, a real fighter,” the former president’s son said, as CNBC has detailed.
The committee is also eyeing efforts by Meadows and others at the Trump White House to get DOJ officials to open investigations into potential election fraud, which dovetailed with Trump’s repeated attempts to cast doubt about his loss to President Joe Biden. Notably, Barr — Trump’s own top cop before leaving office — has said DOJ didn’t find evidence that fraudulent votes could have impacted the election’s outcome.
It is unclear how much help Meadows will voluntarily provide to the committee.