Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) was among those freaking out after the Friday news that former top Trump adviser Steve Bannon had been indicted on two charges of contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena from the House committee investigating the Capitol riot. The committee demanded testimony and documents from Bannon, and his refusal to comply in any way with either demand led to the pair of charges. Although he didn’t even work for the White House during the time period under consideration, Bannon tied his refusal to claims by Trump that executive privilege covers what the committee is after, and Jordan subsequently insisted on Friday that President Joe Biden had “eviscerated” executive privilege for refusing to go along with this line of reasoning.
On CNN, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) shredded Jordan for his nonsensical application of the executive privilege concept. In short, the California Congressman explained how Jordan and other Republicans on his side in this context have clearly failed to grasp the nature of executive privilege, which is a concept generally used to shield internal government deliberations. As Khanna put it, referring to the Republicans who Jordan claimed to have on his side:
‘They probably don’t understand executive privilege. First of all, Steve Bannon wasn’t working in the White House or for the president at the time. Second, executive privilege applies to sensitive communication and advice to the president. This is not that situation. This has nothing to do with national security. So I hope that none of the Republicans abuse the executive privilege. This is about having a private citizen answer for their role on January 6, something all other Americans would have to do.’
Watch Khanna’s remarks below:
Bannon’s indictment means that he could end up in jail. As explained by a press release from the Justice Department, each count of contempt of Congress carries a potential prison sentence of no less than 30 days and no more than one year, if convicted. Consequences can also include fines of up to $100,000 per count. Attorney General Merrick Garland noted that he has “promised Justice Department employees that together we would show the American people by word and deed that the department adheres to the rule of law, follows the facts and the law and pursues equal justice under the law,” adding that Bannon’s “charges reflect the department’s steadfast commitment to these principles.” Bannon has been reported to be expected to turn himself in on this coming Monday.