POLITICO Playbook PM: Meadows faces contempt vote

The House is expected vote on Tuesday on a resolution that would hold Mark Meadows in criminal contempt. | Patrick Semansky/AP Photo

The House is planning to vote later today to place MARK MEADOWS in criminal disobedience of Congress. This follows a Jan.6 select committee recommendation.

— Rep. TOM COLE (R-Okla.), the ranking member on the House Rules Committee, called the proposed contempt resolution “arbitrary and capricious,” and pointed to Meadows’ assertion of executive privilege.

— But Rules Chair JIM MCGOVERN (D-Mass.) That was said “the information [Meadows] turned over to the committee before his stonewalling has made clear he has knowledge and information that is central to this investigation,”He noticed a discrepancy between his talk about his book and his more reserved approach to the panel.

Meanwhile, Meadows’ lawyer, GEORGE TERWILLIGER claimed that Meadows “never stopped cooperating”With the committee, rather “has maintained consistently that as a former Chief of Staff he cannot be compelled to appear for questioning and that he as a witness is not licensed to waive Executive Privilege claimed by the former president.” More from WaPo’s Mariana Alfaro and Jacqueline Alemany … ICYMI: “‘He’s got to condemn this …’: Panel releases urgent Jan. 6 texts from Donald Trump Jr., lawmakers and Fox hosts,”By Kyle Cheney and Nicholas Wu

YOUR REACTION — This morning we asked readers for their thoughts about how the political press corps can better cover the growing anti-democratic movement in the United States at a time when it’s not the top priority for the president, Congress, either political party or the public.

We’ve received lots of feedback already, and here’s a sampling of the range of opinions on what is to us an extraordinarily important subject. All responses have been edited for clarity and length.

— From Greg Roberts: “Changing the political-media ecosystem may be a tall order, but you can start by giving similar prominence to stories about state-level GOP efforts to lay the groundwork for choosing electors the people didn’t vote for. There is nothing more important happening in American politics today … White House messaging and the Virginia governor’s race give us reason to doubt that Democrats know what a winning message is, but if they are right that America’s anti-democratic crisis is not a winning topic on the campaign trail, then a key enabler of the crisis is a lack of voter perception that the crisis is real — or at least no less important than inflation, supply chains, the pandemic, etc.”

— Anonymous writes: “The system works — the idiots failed on Jan. 6 — and most people have moved on. So deal with it, Playbook editors. Two sets of people, R and D, are still focused on the events of Nov. 2020 through Jan. 2021. Doubtless, new facts will emerge — which is good — but the Virginia and New Jersey election results show that most voters are in a different place now. As a nation, we’ve got more important things to deal with than a guy in horns prancing around the Capitol on Jan. 6.”

— “The problem is that the media has decided that it is the job of the Democratic Party alone to calculate the threat to, and defend democracy,”One prominent communication strategist writes. “In fact, liberal democracy is the foundation of free press, and its defense should be its responsibility. … Indeed, if Democratic leaders are not talking about America’s anti-democratic movement, it’s the responsibility of the press to ask them why not, in the same way it routinely (and properly) does so with respect to inflation, jobs, health, etc. … Do you think Fox News watchers and talk radio listeners know that over 719 people have been charged in the Jan. 6 insurrection so far? … Do they know how many breached the Capitol? … We need the media to join together and drive this information. … Hammer it atop every email, every website, every chyron.”

— A similar suggestion: “The media … could keep a running total of the individuals charged in the Jan. 6 attack, the number under investigation, number indicted, number pending trial and reporting the judicial outcomes when they occur,” writes Thomas Snitch. “Folks need to know that there are consequences. We are fixated on Mark Meadows this week. Next week, we may be back to SIDNEY POWELL or even RUDY GIULIANI. No one cares, because the average person knows that they will get some type of hall pass. … Democracy works because citizens are willing to accept and play by the rules. … If we undercut the perceived legitimacy of elections and their outcomes, the whole house may fall down.”

— “Viewing Jan. 6 as a threat to democracy is extreme nuttiness in its own right,”Turney P. Berberry “There is no scenario in which the constitutional order was upset. … What you had was a bunch of nuts, some go-along-with-the-crowd types, some bona fide bad people and an inexplicable failure of law enforcement to deal [with the situation]. That doesn’t mean the nuts should not be punished nor that this example of government incompetence shouldn’t be investigated. … The problem is never the few nuts outside the Capitol, but rather those in the capital, wherever located, who have lost sight of service to the rule of law as their guiding principle and substituted service to a cause or an individual or their own sense of the people’s need or will. We find those individuals in every branch, every administration, in every generation. They are the threat, the same now as ever.”

— “As a center-right voter, I am sick and tired of hearing about Donald Trump and Jan. 6,”Laura “A bunch of overzealous idiots stormed the Capitol without any type of serious plan, were thwarted, and MIKE PENCE carried on. How was this ‘overturning democracy’? … The old chant that ‘the right will destroy democracy in America’ has lost its power as hardworking people of all colors watch what is happening in blue states as wannabe future dictators charge down a path toward bedlam.”

— “The politicians weren’t talking about the Gulf of Tonkin, Watergate, Pentagon Papers, Iran-Contra, etc., but they were unearthed and covered extensively,”Nathan Rudy, reader “Of course, there was plenty of covering the daily talk and antics of politicians back then, but there was also a portion of the press that was not driven by it. With the incredible growth of national media — TV, radio, Internet — and the dearth of local media, it’s incumbent on the national media … to cover issues that politicians don’t think are ‘winning,’ but are vital to the country. After all, if democracy fails here, one of the first things to go will be press freedom.”

— “Why label your critics as ‘the left’?”Constance Newman “The concerns have been raised by election law scholars, constitutional scholars and historians. Concerns have been raised by former Republicans who reject the Trump authoritarian GOP. Journalists have documented the factual changes to laws that threaten people’s ability to vote, the violence and harassment campaigns that have been waged against election staff and even current Republican lawmakers. Are these people all leftists? Does ‘the left’ start to become any group that criticizes ‘the right’? …

“You say that the political press covers (only) what politicians say, ‘for better or worse.’ That might be the problem: you’re mere stenographers! But that’s not true. You add analysis, it just needs to be better. You need to call balls and strikes on the claims made by those politicians. Facts are all the public is asking for. Do better, or we’re only going to hear the political horse-race coverage and nothing about the … very real and deep threats to our democracy.

“I’m a leftist. Ha! But I’m not at all alone in worrying about the fate of our democracy. To hear Representative LIZ CHENEY on the dangers of Jan. 6 makes me realize there is hope precisely because it’s not just the leftists who are worried.”

— And POLITICO reporter Kyle Cheney, who is covering the fallout from Jan. 6, wrote in with this: “There is a five-alarm fire happening in real time — but far from ignoring it, the political press has, in fact, covered it with urgency (including in this newsroom, where a handful of us cover the beat full-time). The facts we’re uncovering are alarming and deserve focus and prioritization by reporters covering our small-d democratic government. Any perception that ‘the media’ is not treating this with urgency should be a reason to redouble that focus, not explain it away.

“Here at POLITICO, in fact, we’ve written hundreds of stories about Jan. 6 and its implications just in the last few months. We’re escalating our attention to this investigation and its broader context because not only does our audience want us tracking this narrative, but covering it responsibly is a central part of our jobs. Whether Democratic leaders have decided this is a winning message for 2022 has no bearing on our commitment to telling this story. My sense is that among those of us doing this journalism, this is one of the defining stories of our era — and it deserves to be treated that way.”

Good Tuesday afternoon.

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Find out more about Cathryn’s career.


WHO’S TALKING — “DUSTIN STOCKTON, a conservative activist who helped promote rallies leading up to Jan. 6, and KEITH KELLOGG, who served as the national security adviser to former Vice President Mike Pence, arrived for interviews with the select panel investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection Tuesday morning,”Nicholas Wu reports for Congress Minutes.

AIMING FOR THE TOP — D.C. A.G. KARL RACINE is suing the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers for the organzations’ role in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, launching the “first government-backed legal action against the groups whose members allegedly stormed the Capitol,” Kyle Cheney reports. The lawsuit


JOE BIDEN’S MEDIA DIET — During the Trump administration, if you wanted to reach the president, you’d schedule a hit on “Fox and Friends”Buy ad time on Hannity and Tucker. Now that JOE BIDEN is in the White House, the president’s media diet is decidedly different, and scores of would-be influencers have found a good way to reach him: “running print ads in Delaware’s The News Journal,”Hailey Fuchs & Max Tani are the authors.

“A review of the paper found that 17 ads have been run by [organizations with legislative interests] between September and mid-November alone. The ads’ messages range from calling on President Joe Biden to take action on renewable fuel policy, to imploring him to draw down the country’s nuclear arsenal, to expressing gratitude that he preserved tribal cultural heritage sites in Utah.”More examples, including photos of the ads Biden views, are available at the following link

NOMINEE NEWS — Biden announced today that he would nominate SANDRA THOMPSON to serve as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, where she is acting director now. More from Katy O’Donnell


NDAA AND DEBT LIMIT MOVE FORWARD — The Senate today advanced the NDAA — by an 86-13 vote, per @connorobrienNH — and the bill to raise the debt limit — by a party-line vote, per @caitlinzemma. The debt limit bill is scheduled to come up for a final vote later today, with the NDAA’s final passage expected on Wednesday.

BREAKING DOWN THE BLOCKADE — via CNN’s Manu Raju (@mkraju): “[Sen. TED] CRUZ told reporters that he’s having talks with [Majority Leader CHUCK] SCHUMER about lifting holds on some ambassador nominees. He said he spoke with [Secretary of State ANTONY] BLINKEN this morning. Among his asks: A vote on an amendment dealing with the Nordstream 2 pipeline. Said it would pertain to a ‘group of nominees.’”


BUILD BACK BETTER Vs. THE CULTURE WAR — Biden officials are having a tough time selling major federal investments in the same rural areas that they are meant to help, Meredith Lee reports from Monroe County, Wis. “Administration officials such as Agriculture Secretary TOM VILSACK are now fanning out to rural areas to explain the benefits. Local Democrats are campaigning in districts like this corner of southwest Wisconsin along the Mississippi River that once swung for BARACK OBAMA and has been trending redder and redder ever since. But as local voters — who are overwhelmingly white, blue-collar workers — increasingly disagree with Democrats on cultural issues, GOP arguments against government spending are resonating, making it difficult for the White House’s messaging to stick.”

HOW DEMS ARE LOSING LATINOS — When Republicans label Democrats as “socialists,”According to new research, the attack seems to work in Latinos. “More than 40 percent of Latino voters across the country expressed concern that Democrats are embracing socialism and leftist policies, according to a survey included in a report released Tuesday by Equis, a Democratic research firm,” Sabrina Rodríguez writes. “Among those who voted for Trump, more than 70 percent were concerned. And Latino voters said they are more concerned with Democrats moving to the left than with Republicans embracing fascist and anti-democratic politics.”


HOW THE BIG LIE SPREADS — Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen have seeped into the grassroots — and the ex-president’s most ardent supporters are now taking the hunt door-to-door, BuzzFeed’s Sarah Mimms reports. “Individual election deniers and grassroots groups are canvassing for election fraud in states lost or even won by former president Donald Trump in 2020, including New Hampshire, Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina, Utah, and Nebraska.”


DEAL OR NO DEAL — The United Arab Emirates is threatening to pull out of a massive deal to buy U.S. aircraft, drones and other weaponry, WSJ’s Gordon Lubold and Warren Strobel report.

HUAWEI OR THE HIGHWAY — Despite brushing off claims that it surveils Chinese citizens, Huawei has aided the Chinese government in doing just that, according to “more than 100 Huawei PowerPoint presentations, many marked ‘confidential,’” uncovered by WaPo’s Eva Dou.


SPOTTED: Senator Mark Warner (D.Va.), hosted a bipartisan group senators in a private dining area at San Lorenzo, Shaw on Monday night.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Krysten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.). Pic, via Overheard DC

MEDIA MOVES — Valerie Yurk is now a Legislative Compass reporter for POLITICO Pro. She was previously a reporter at E&E News. … Eric Garcia is now a columnist for MSNBC, where he writes a bi-weekly column on politics and disability policy. He is the senior Washington correspondent for The Independent and Washington bureau chief. … Art Acevedo is now a CNN law enforcement analyst based in Miami. He has held the position of chief of police for Houston, Austin, and Miami. He also previously held leadership positions with Major Cities Chiefs and the National Latino Peace Officers Association.

TRANSITIONS — Tyler Hansen is now a director at Uplift Campaigns. He was most recently a senior strategist at American Bridge 21st Century. He is also a DCCC alum. … Sarah Cozewith is now VP of career development at the American Hotel & Lodging Association Foundation. She was most recently director of workforce development at National Apartment Association and is an alumnus of the National Retail Federation.

… Nic Thomson is now an associate at Washington Business Dynamics. He was previously a comms specialist with the Independent Community Bankers of America. … Rep. Diana Harshbarger’s (R-Tenn.) office is adding Ian Orr as director of operations, as Jake Corsi becomes legislative correspondent. … K&L Gates is adding Victor Chang and Yi Ying as partners. Chang was previously at Jones Day, while Ying was at White & Case.

ENGAGED — Harlan Hill, CEO of Logan Circle Group and a partner at Red Wave Media Group, and Talia Hanks, client services director of a contracting company in Salt Lake City, got engaged on Friday at the Lincoln Memorial while both of their families were visiting town for Harlan’s company Christmas party at the Trump hotel. Talia, a girl from the Trump hotel, asked Harlan to take their picture. PicAnother pic

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