A US Congressional committee investigating the Murderous uprising of January 6 at the Capitol will meet next week to advance contempt charges against Steve Bannon, a former senior political adviser to former President Donald Trump.
Bannon, who helped Trump win the White House in 2016, declined to be interviewed or hand over subpoenaed documents by the US House of Representatives panel unless a court there ordered.
“We completely reject his position”, Committee President Bennie Thompson said in a statement Thursday. “The select committee will not tolerate contempt for our subpoenas, so we must move forward with the process to remove Mr. Bannon for criminal contempt.”
Thompson said the committee would meet on Oct. 19 to vote on adopting a contempt report setting out the case against Bannon, which was let go of your position as advisor to the White House in 2017.
Thompson also criticized Bannon for “hiding behind the former president’s insufficient, general and vague statements regarding the privileges he purported to invoke.”
Trump, who continues to claim without proof that the 2020 election had been rigged, sought to invoke “executive privilege” to block the release of White House documents related to the deadly events of January 6. The administration of US President Joe Biden rejected this effort Last week.
The Jan.6 committee, made up of seven Democrats and two Republicans, filed subpoenas requesting interviews and written statements from several members of the former Trump administration as part of its investigation into the events of that day.
A crowd of Trump supporters stormed the United States Capitol on January 6 as Congress was due to certify President Joe Biden’s electoral victory in 2020. The insurgency took place shortly after Trump gave an inflammatory speech in Washington, DC.
The House committee asked for approximately a dozen people involved in organizing and producing Trump’s Jan. 6 rally to testify, and he also demanded recordings from social media platforms including 4chan, 8kun, Parler, Telegram, SnapChat and others.
He issued a new subpoena on Oct. 13 to Jeffrey Clark, who served as Acting Attorney General in the dying days of the Trump presidency.
Two other witnesses, former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Defense Department official Kash Patel, were scheduled to appear for talks this week, committee members said. Former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino has also been subpoenaed.
In a letter to Bannon, Thompson alleged that Trump’s former aide was part of “an effort to persuade members of Congress to block certification” of Biden’s election victory. “You are quoted as having declared, on January 5, 2021, that ‘[a]Hell is going to break loose tomorrow, ”Thompson wrote.
But a lawyer for Bannon informed the committee in an Oct. 7 letter that Bannon would not comply with the investigation because Trump is claiming executive privilege.
In a statement released the day before, Trump called the committee “partisan,” called its two Republican members “pathetic,” and reaffirmed his baseless claims that “the real insurgency” occurred on November 3 – the day of it. US presidential election.
But in his statement on Thursday, Thompson said the committee “will use all the tools at its disposal to obtain the information it seeks and that witnesses who attempt to block the select committee will not.”
Representative Liz Cheney, who was among 10 Republicans to vote for Trump’s impeachment for “incitement to insurgency” in connection with the January 6 riot, said earlier this week she would support the contempt charges.
“Usually people are going to have to appear, or, you know, we’re going to bring contempt charges against them,” Cheney said, adding that the whole committee was in agreement on that point.
Contempt of Congress is a criminal offense punishable by up to 12 months in prison.
Under a long-established procedure, Congress refers contempt complaints to the US Department of Justice, which will then pursue the matter in US courts.