Dershowitz Says Meadows’ Contempt of Congress Vote Premature

( Attorney Alan Dershowitz slammed House Democrats for voting to hold former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in contempt of Congress before the courts delivered a final ruling on his claims of executive privilege.

In a column at the Gatestone Institute, Dershowitz argued that the Democrats holding the vote before a court ruling was premature. What’s more, in the absence of a court decision to the contrary, Meadows would be required to accept former President Trump’s claim of executive privilege.

If Meadows were to provide communications that the courts ended up ruling as privileged, “that could not be returned to the constitutional bag.” At the same time, if Meadows does not disclose the communications and the court rules that he must, the only cost to the January 6 committee is a delay. Therefore, Dershowitz argues, in the “balance of harms,” non-disclosure is favorable.

Given that, Dershowitz explains, the decision by the January 6 select committee to pursue a criminal indictment before a court decision is “outrageous.”

In short, the January 6 committee and the House Democrats jumped the gun.

Dershowitz argues that the committee should have waited for the courts to rule first on the constitutional issue. And if the court ruled that Meadows had to comply and he still refused, then they could seek criminal contempt. In this case, Dershowitz points out, Meadows has already said he would comply with the court’s ruling. So why rush through on contempt of Congress when Meadows said he would comply?

What’s more, Dershowitz explains, getting a court order first is “required by the constitutionally mandated separation of powers.” He argues that Congress doesn’t have the authority to “simply compel the executive to bow to its will.” If there is a conflict between the two elected branches of government, it is the judicial branch that decides which is constitutionally correct.

Dershowitz argues that Congress should not use criminal indictments to determine what the law is. Criminal indictments should only be used against those who are violating existing law.

Read Dershowitz’s column here.