OnPolitics: Steve Bannon held in contempt of Congress

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President Donald Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon speaks with reporters in New York on Aug. 20, 2020.
President Donald Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon speaks with reporters in New York on Aug. 20, 2020.

Happy Thursday, OnPolitics readers.

There's a lot of focus on Steve Bannon this week, which we'll explain.

But first ...

The representatives are fighting: Reps. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., and Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., traded barbs on Wednesday during a House Rules Committee meeting on a resolution recommending that the House hold former President Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon in contempt after he denied a congressional subpoena.

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol voted earlier this week to hold Bannon in contempt. They approved a contempt report that is set to recommend charges against Bannon, who was in contact with Trump prior to the riot.

As the two lawmakers went back-and-forth, Raskin responded to Gaetz: “Blah, blah, blah.” Your members of Congress at work.

It's Amy and Mabinty, with the day's top news.

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Now let's get back to Steve Bannon

The House voted to hold Trump adviser Steve Bannon in contempt Thursday over his refusal to cooperate with the panel investigating the Jan. 6 attack, handing out a sanction that lawmakers said could send a signal to other potential witnesses.

The full House voted 229-202 with all Democrats voting in favor and most Republicans voting against. House GOP leadership was urging members Wednesday to vote against the vote, but nine Republicans voted to hold Bannon in contempt. That included Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who both serve on the Jan. 6 committee.

Lawmakers want to know about any communications Bannon had with Trump in the days leading up to the Jan. 6 riot, which occurred as lawmakers and Vice President Mike Pence gathered in a special session to formally count the Electoral College votes that established Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., said the messages the committee is trying to send is, first, "to him, that he has violated the law, and should be prosecuted for it." Secondly, that "if other people are thinking about violating the law, they might know that they could be in the same spot," she said.

What happens next? Attorney General Merrick Garland made no commitment Thursday to pursue criminal charges against Bannon if Congress referred the case for prosecution.

But the attorney general, in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, vowed to "apply the facts and law and make a decision consistent with the principles of prosecution" should the Trump adviser's fate fall to the Justice Department. The case is likely to land in Garland's lap as soon as this week.

Real quick: stories you'll want to read

  • Maryland couple attempts to sell state secrets: An FBI counter-intelligence agent described a series of photographs and videos allegedly showing a Navy engineer and his wife making drops of classified data where investigators recovered secret information related to a nuclear-powered submarine fleet.

  • Biden pitching his agenda in CNN town hall: President Joe Biden will take center stage in Baltimore tonight as he looks to sharpen his pitch on his multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure and social spending plans, the centerpiece of his domestic agenda that Democrats are scrambling to strike a deal on before the month's end.

  • Hackers targeting US drinking water supplies: The nation's top civilian cybersecurity agency issued a warning Thursday about ongoing cyber threats to the U.S. drinking water supply, saying malicious hackers are targeting government water and wastewater treatment systems.

US spy community fears global famine due to climate change

The Biden administration’s top spies and scientists released the first-ever National Intelligence Estimate on the global security threats posed by climate change on Thursday, concluding it will pose ever-greater challenges in the decades to come – and at a rate faster than previously expected due to political squabbling and inaction.

What does the report predict? Within a decade, the estimate warned, higher ocean temperatures and acidity could devastate already strained commercial fisheries, droughts could deplete critically important grain harvests and increased food and water scarcity could trigger widespread conflict, hoarding and a global famine.

The diminished energy, food, and water security that follows – especially in swaths of South Asia, Africa and Latin America – will exacerbate poverty, tribal and ethnic tensions and dissatisfaction with governments to the point where some of them may fall, it said.

“Estimates are nice and it’s good to see that they’re paying attention,” said Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, who has been sounding the alarm about the national security threats posed by climate change for more than a decade. “But the real question is how does the (intelligence community) adapt its capabilities to provide better intelligence for policy makers so that they can take actual action in areas that affect our national and global security?”

Upcoming climate change conference: The report comes just days before Biden is scheduled to attend the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, in Glasgow, Scotland, which begins on October 31st.

Today is #LatinaEqualPayDay. Latina workers in 2020 earned an average of 57 cents for every dollar a white man made. Lea en español aquí. — Amy and Mabinty

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: The House voted to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress

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