Pence rips media focus on Jan. 6
Trump downplays Capitol riot
The House Jan. 6 select committee voted Tuesday night to recommend that Steve Bannon, a one-time top adviser to former President Donald Trump, be held in contempt of Congress over his refusal to cooperate with an ongoing investigation into the Capitol riot.
The panel’s unanimous recommendation will advance to the full House for another vote, which will occur Thursday. If approved, the measure will advance to the Justice Department, whose officials will make the final decision on whether to prosecute Bannon. The former Trump adviser could face a fine or a jail term of up to 12 months.
“Mr. Bannon stands alone in his complete defiance of our subpoena. That’s not acceptable,” Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the panel’s chairman, said in remarks prior to the vote. “No one in this country, no matter how wealthy or how powerful, is above the law.”
In their contempt report for Bannon, the panel said his team had “relied on no legal authority to support his refusal to comply in any fashion with the subpoena.” The report said Bannon had “specific knowledge about the events planned for January 6th before they occurred,” noting that he said on his Jan. 5 podcast that “all hell is going to break loose tomorrow.”
Thompson indicated the panel would pursue similar action if other witnesses do not cooperate with the investigation.
In this file photo from Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018, Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist, talks about the approaching midterm election during an interview with The Associated Press, in Washington. The special congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection has set a vote for Tuesday to recommend criminal contempt charges against Bannon after he defied the panel’s subpoena. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, file)
The vote was seen as a critical moment for the select committee, whose members have vowed to compel Trump administration officials to cooperate with their investigation. The decision could set up a lengthy court battle over the extent of protection offered by executive privilege.
In late September, the select committee issued subpoenas for documents and testimony from four of Trump’s former aides – Bannon, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, former White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications Daniel Scavino, and former Defense Department official Kashyap Patel. The panel ordered Bannon to appear at a deposition on Oct. 14.
FILE – In this Jan. 6, 2021 file photo, violent protesters, loyal to President Donald Trump, storm the Capitol in Washington. A House committee tasked with investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection is moving swiftly to hold at least one of Donald Trump’s allies, former White House aide Steve Bannon, in contempt. That’s happening as the former president is pushing back on the probe in a new lawsuit. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Trump’s attorneys instructed the aides not to comply with the subpoena. Bannon declined to appear at the deposition. Bannon’s attorneys cited Trump’s instruction and argued the former president’s attempt to cite executive privilege should be resolved first.
President Biden declined to invoke executive privilege to prevent the release of Trump-era documents sought by the select committee. His decision prompted Trump to file a federal lawsuit against the Jan. 6 select committee and the National Archives this week, arguing the probe was a “vexatious, illegal fishing expedition.”
The committee rejected a request from Bannon’s attorney to delay a vote on the contempt report to allow consideration of Trump’s lawsuit.
FILE – In this Sept. 24, 2021, file photo, Rep. Bennie Thompson D-Miss., chairman of the House Select Committee on the January 6th attack speaks with reporters outside the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
Bannon served as a top adviser to Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign and the early days of his administration. He left the White House in August 2017 and was not an active member of the administration during the period covered by the subpoena.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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