“As I have said from the start, Mr. Kerik is happy to provide all responsive documents, as well as sit down and answer all appropriate questions regarding those matters,” Parlatore said in the letter.
The committee assigned Kerik on November 8, seeking information about his work with Giuliani, as well as his involvement in the so-called “war room” of the Willard Hotel, where Trump’s allies met. to develop a strategy to prevent Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s victory. . The letter that accompanied the summons erroneously suggested that Kerik was present in the war room on January 5, which led to Kerik asking for an apology.
Kerik had previously agreed to testify before the Jan. 6 committee if it allowed him to do so in public. His offer prompted a positive statement from former President Donald Trump, who said he was prepared to waive attorney-client privilege to allow Kerik to testify.
Citing this statement, Thompson urged Kerik in a December 10 letter, also obtained by POLITICO, to appear for a deposition on January 13 – several weeks later than the originally scheduled panel – or face a potential contempt citation. criminal.
“[T]The special committee would view Mr. Kerik’s failure to appear for evidence and produce compliant documents or a privilege log… as a willful non-compliance, ”Thompson wrote. “Such a willful breach of the summons would force the select committee to consider invoking contempt of congressional process.”
Thompson also denied Kerik’s request for a public hearing instead of a deposition. But he said the committee would take the request “under advisement” and consider a future hearing after Kerik appeared for his testimony.
In his response to Thompson, Parlatore dismissed the idea that Trump had waived solicitor-client privilege altogether, but instead emphasized that he had only done so on condition that Kerik was allowed to testify publicly.
“[T]o To the extent that you do not understand the conditional nature of this waiver of privilege, I would suggest that the committee’s legal advisers seek clarification from former President Trump’s attorneys, ”Parlatore wrote.
Parlatore also criticized Thompson for making a threat of contempt when Kerik repeatedly offered options for full cooperation.
“To be clear, Mr. Kerik really wants to cooperate with the Committee and comply with the subpoena,” he said. “He is embarrassed by the Committee’s refusal so far to accept the terms of the waiver of privilege. “
Parlatore also urged the committee to seek a resolution through a civil lawsuit, which he said Kerik would welcome and agree to expedite.
Much of Parlatore’s letter focuses on disputed claims that the January 6 committee is structurally invalid because it does not include any members appointed by GOP House leader Kevin McCarthy. This claim has become a feature of several lawsuits brought by targets in the committee’s investigation who resist subpoenas for testimony or telephone records.
The demands point out that the House’s subpoena and deposition rules require “consultation” between the chair of a committee and the “rank member” of the minority party. But in this case, there is no rank member appointed by the GOP. Instead, the two Republicans on the panel – Reps Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger – were nominated by President Nancy Pelosi.
Thompson rebuffed this claim in his December 10 letter, calling it “without merit.” The January 6 resolution establishing the committee authorized Pelosi to appoint all panel members after “consultation with the minority leader.” That consultation has taken place, Thompson said, and nothing in the rules “requires that preferred members of the minority leader be appointed or sit on the special committee.”
McCarthy named five choices to the committee in June, but Pelosi rejected two: Reps Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Jim Banks (R-Ind.), Who she said would not be constructive panel members. In response, McCarthy withdrew all of his picks, leaving the entire panel in the hands of Pelosi and the majority.
Courts have yet to decide whether this series of events has legal ramifications, but judges are generally reluctant to weigh in on issues of the House’s internal dynamics and procedures.
In its response, Parlatore said Thompson failed to reconcile the absence of a high-ranking member with House rules requiring consultation before subpoenas are issued and depositions scheduled.
“I don’t know if you tried to resolve this conflict with the House Parliamentarian or the Rules Committee to resolve the conflict,” he wrote, “or if the committee is just doing subpoenas without make sure they have the appropriate authority beforehand. do this. “