House holds Steve Bannon in criminal contempt of Congress for ignoring subpoena, sends to DOJ

House holds Steve Bannon in criminal contempt of Congress for ignoring subpoena, sends to DOJ
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The House on Thursday voted to hold Steve Bannon in criminal contempt of Congress over his refusal to comply with a subpoena from the House select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 riot on the U.S. Capitol.

The matter will be forwarded to the Department of Justice, which will decide whether to pursue criminal charges against Bannon.

Bannon was an adviser to former President Donald Trump but was fired from his role at the White House in 2017, long before the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Despite having no government role on Jan. 6, Bannon argues the information sought by the committee is protected by “executive privilege," an argument Trump is also making, and that he is “not required to respond at this time.”

He is one of the dozens of individuals who have received subpoenas or requests for information from the committee about the events on the day of and leading up to Jan. 6.

SCALISE CALLS BANNON CONTEMPT VOTE A ‘DISTRACTION’ FROM BIDEN CRISES

Thursday’s vote came just two days after the Jan. 6 select committee unanimously voted to recommend holding Bannon in contempt.

House Republican leadership did not formally whip votes against the contempt resolution but strongly urged members to vote against it.

A pair of House Republicans on the Jan. 6 panel voted for the contempt resolution — Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois. Seven other House Republicans also voted for the measure — Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington, John Katko of New York, Nancy Mace of South Carolina, Peter Meijer of Michigan, and Fred Upton of Michigan.

Indiana Republican Rep. Jim Banks managed debate again. Banks is one of five Republicans that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy originally appointed to sit on the Jan. 6 committee, but Pelosi vetoed him and Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan — the first time such a veto had occurred in Congress.

"Congress is prohibited from conducting criminal investigations, period. But that's exactly what the select committee is doing: conducting an illicit, criminal investigation into American citizens," Banks said on the House floor. "Congress can only issue subpoenas that serve a legislative purpose. The question that the committee must answer is, why are they seeking information about a permitted political rally?"

His arguments echoed that of McCarthy, who told reporters in a press conference earlier on Thursday that the Bannon subpoena was “invalid.”

Cheney, vice chairwoman of the Jan. 6 committee, and Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi managed floor debate for those arguing in favor of holding Bannon in criminal contempt. They argued Bannon had direct and advanced knowledge about the events of Jan. 6.

She quoted what Bannon said on his podcast on Jan. 5 and Jan 6: "All hell is going to break loose ... We are coming in right over the target ... This is the point of attack we have always wanted."

Cheney also identified some legislative purposes of the committee, including the evaluation of whether to strengthen criminal laws.

In a seemingly personal move against Banks, Cheney entered into the congressional record a letter he wrote to Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland identifying himself as the person McCarthy appointed as the ranking member on the Jan. 6 committee.

The DOJ has not incited any person with contempt of Congress since 1983.

In the past, other individuals the House has voted to hold in criminal contempt have negotiated to avoid a criminal indictment. The executive branch has also historically been reluctant to enforce congressional subpoenas for current or former administration officials.

President Joe Biden has signaled he thinks the DOJ should prosecute those who resist the committee’s subpoenas. That has raised concerns about the DOJ's impartiality, though the department said it would make decisions about productions independently.

Other famous individuals the House has voted to hold in criminal contempt of Congress include Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder and Trump administration Attorney General William Barr.

Unlike those administration officials, Bannon had no government role on Jan. 6, meaning Congress may assess inciting him in a different manner.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

In the past, congressional committees have negotiated with individuals for information sought for a subpoena. Another option is attempting to enforce the subpoena in civil court.

It could take years to litigate Bannon’s refusal to comply with the subpoena and for Congress to administer holding him in contempt.

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Tags: News, Congress, Liz Cheney, Steve Bannon, Jim Banks, January 6, January 6 Commission

Original Author: Emily Brooks

Original Location: House holds Steve Bannon in criminal contempt of Congress for ignoring subpoena, sends to DOJ

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