Capitol riot committee to vote on criminal contempt move against Steve Bannon

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The House committee investigating the 6 January Capitol insurrection will vote on Tuesday to begin criminal contempt proceedings against former Trump adviser Steve Bannon.

Mr Bannon was due to give evidence before the committee in a deposition on Thursday, but in a letter to the committee, his attorney said his client would not cooperate because former President Donald Trump has directed him not to do so, citing a dubious executive privilege claim.

In a statement, Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the Capitol Chairman Bennie Thompson said Mr Bannon “has declined to cooperate with the Select Committee and is instead hiding behind the former President’s insufficient, blanket, and vague statements regarding privileges he has purported to invoke”.

“We reject his position entirely,” Mr Thompson said. “The Select Committee will not tolerate defiance of our subpoenas, so we must move forward with proceedings to refer Mr Bannon for criminal contempt. I’ve notified the Select Committee that we will convene for a business meeting Tuesday evening to vote on adopting a contempt report”.

Mr Thompson said his committee “will use every tool at its disposal to get the information it seeks,” and vowed that attempts to stonewall the body’s efforts “will not succeed”.

If both a majority of the committee — consisting of seven Democrats plus Republican Representatives Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney — and a majority of the full House of Representatives vote to authorise a criminal contempt referral against Mr Bannon, such a referral would be sent by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the US Attorney for the District of Columbia, who is required by law to present the case for contempt charges to a grand jury.

While previous administrations have often declined to act on criminal contempt referrals from Congress, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki last week said the Biden administration would “of course” follow the law. If convicted of contempt of Congress, Mr Bannon — who previously faced prison time for fraud charges that were dismissed after a last-minute pardon from Mr Trump — could spent as much as a year behind bars.

The committee has also issued subpoenas to a number of other ex-Trump administration figures, including former Deputy Chief of Staff Daniel Scavino, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and former Defence Department official Kashyap Patel. A fifth, ex-Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, was announced on Wednesday.

Though he left office nearly a year ago, Mr Trump is still claiming that he can invoke executive privilege to prevent his ex-aides from testifying before the committee. However, most legal experts say his position is not supported by law or fact, and the privilege belongs to President Joe Biden alone.

Mr Biden, through White House Counsel Dana Remus, has chosen to waive that privilege because of the unique circumstances of the 6 January insurrection.

Mr Thompson suggested other Trump administration witnesses may be cooperating with his committee, despite their former boss’ wishes to the contrary.

“We’re grateful to the many individuals who are voluntarily participating and to witnesses who are complying with subpoenas, including several who met the deadline to begin producing materials to the Select Committee,” he said.

“We’re moving ahead quickly to get answers for the American people about what happened on January 6th and help secure the future of American democracy”.

Mr Bannon did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Independent.

Read More

Judge issues order that Trump must participate in filmed deposition in protest lawsuit

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting