Urgent Criminal Referral Of Steve Bannon For Ignoring Jan 6 Subpoena Under Consideration

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Following a revelation that former top Trump adviser Steve Bannon would be refusing to comply with a subpoena from the House committee investigating the Capitol riot, that panel has announced that it’s moving to consider issuing a criminal referral of Bannon for contempt of Congress. Notably, the panel also revealed that former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and former Defense Department official Kash Patel are “engaging with” the committee, unlike Bannon. Meadows and Patel, who were also subpoenaed, may be concerned about the potential for a year in prison and tens of thousands of dollars in fines that could come with convictions of contempt of Congress.

The new revelations from the riot investigation committee came in a Friday statement from chairperson Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.). The two commented as follows:

‘While Mr. Meadows and Mr. Patel are, so far, engaging with the Select Committee, Mr. Bannon has indicated that he will try to hide behind vague references to privileges of the former President. The Select Committee fully expects all of these witnesses to comply with our demands for both documents and deposition testimony. Though the Select Committee welcomes good-faith engagement with witnesses seeking to cooperate with our investigation, we will not allow any witness to defy a lawful subpoena or attempt to run out the clock, and we will swiftly consider advancing a criminal contempt of Congress referral.’

Thompson and Cheney added that they “thank those many patriotic Americans who are coming forward voluntarily to participate in our inquiry,” and they said that the committee “is making rapid progress and will not be deterred by those who seek to obstruct our efforts.” Trump himself is among those seeking to obstruct the work of the riot investigation committee. Recently, he — through a lawyer — directed Bannon, Meadows, Patel, and another subpoenaed ex-aide, Dan Scavino, not to comply with demands from the committee, citing supposed executive privilege. Committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) has derided the idea that Trump, as a former chief executive of the United States, continues to possess “executive privilege” in line with his claims.

As for Bannon, his lawyer Robert Costello wrote to the riot investigation committee that “the executive privileges belong to President Trump” and that “we must accept his direction and honor his invocation of executive privilege.” Bannon has been reported to have spoken with then-President Trump in December of last year, urging the then-commander-in-chief to train his rhetorical sights on January 6, when Congress was scheduled to meet to formally certify the presidential election outcome and when the Capitol riot ended up taking place.

Featured Image is edited and via Gage Skidmore/ Wikimedia Commons, available under a Creative Commons License