The special House committee investigating the The Capitol Riot will vote next week to recommend a contempt of Congress charge against Stephen K. Bannon after defying a subpoena.
WASHINGTON - The chairman of the House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol voted next week to recommend that Stephen K. Bannon, former senior adviser to President Donald J. Trump, face criminal contempt charges for refusing to comply with a subpoena.
The move would escalate what is shaping up to be a major legal battle between the select committee and the former president over access to witnesses and crucial documents that could shed light on this which precipitated the riot, when a a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol and disrupted Congressional's official tally of votes that confirmed President Biden's election.
This came after Mr. Bannon informed the panel that he would challenge an assignment in accordance with a directive from Mr. Trump , who told d Former aides and advisers they shouldn't cooperate with the investigation as he claims executive privilege, which may protect White House deliberations or documents implicating the president from the
"Mr. Bannon refused to cooperate with the select committee and instead hides behind the insufficient, general and vague statements of the former president concerning the privileges he purported to invoke, "Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and chairman of the committee, said in a statement." We reject his position entirely. The select committee will not tolerate contempt forour subpoenas, so we need to move forward with Mr. Bannon's criminal contempt removal proceedings.
Under federal law, anyone summoned as a congressional witness who refuses to comply may face a criminal offense charge. 'a fine of $ 100 to $ 100,000 and a prison term of one month to one year.
The committee, which is controlled by the Democrats, is expected to agree to continue these sanctions on Tuesday. That would send the contempt citation across the House, where Democrats almost certainly have the votes to endorse it. The case would then be sent to the Justice Department with a recommendation that officials pursue legal action against Mr Bannon.
The cumbersome procedure reflects a difficult reality that Democrats grapple with as they strive toto advance the investigation. Congress is a legislative body, not a law enforcement body, and its ability to compel cooperation and punish wrongdoing is inherently limited. Its investigative tools are only powerful if the courts so decide, and the process of legal struggle to obtain crucial information and witnesses risks being prolonged.
Robert J. Costello, an attorney for Mr. Bannon, said in a letter to the committee on Wednesday that his client would not produce any documents or testimony " until you reach an agreement with the President Trump "on claims of executive privilege " or receive a court ruling. "
The Biden administration refused to extend the privilege to Mr. Trump, but the matter could end in the courts. And in the case of Mr. Bannon, who has not been an executive officer since il left the White House in 2017 , the claim is particularly tenuous, as it concerns conversations or documents relating to January 6. attack.
In its first batch of subpoenas, the select committee ordered to four former Trump administration officials - M Bannon; Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff; Dan Scavino Jr., Deputy Chief of Staff; and Kash Patel, a Pentagon chief of staff - to attend depositions this week and provide documents and other material relevant to his investigation.
The committee said Mr. Meadows and Mr. Patel were communicating with the panel. A source at coDuring the committee's negotiations, lawmakers were likely to give the two men a delay before testifying. Mr. Scavino received his subpoena last week.
On Wednesday, the summons to Jeffrey Clark , a former Justice Department official who was involved in Mr. Trump's efforts to overthrow the 2020 presidential election. The committee 's action intervened the same day he heard lengthy closed-door testimony from Jeffrey A. Rosen, the former acting prosecutor general, who testified publicly and in private on the last days of administration Trump , when the former president pressured senior officials to use the Justice Department to make a false claims allegations of fraud and invalidate the election result.
In private testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mr. Rosen said that Mr. Clark had him said Mr. Trump was preparing to fire Mr. Rosen and back Mr. Clark's strategy of pursuing conspiracy theories of voting booth hacks and voter fraud.
" Well, I'm not getting fired by someone who works for me, Mr. Rosen said he told Mr. Clark about it.