WASHINGTON (AP) – A House committee investigating the Capitol’s Jan. 6 insurrection unanimously voted Tuesday to arrest former White House adviser Steve Bannon as a disregard for Congress after the former’s longtime ally fell President Donald Trump had opposed a subpoena for documents and testimony.
Trump was still defending his backers who broke into the Capitol that day and has aggressively tried to block the committee’s work by ordering Bannon and others not to answer questions in the investigation. Trump has also filed a lawsuit to prevent Congress from receiving previous White House documents.
However, lawmakers have made it clear that they will not give in as they gather facts and testimony about the attack from Trump’s supporters that injured dozens of police officers, lawmakers are running for their lives and the confirmation of President Joe Biden‘s victory was interrupted.
Committee chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., Said Tuesday that Bannon “stands alone in his utter disregard of our subpoena” and that the panel will not take no for an answer.
He said that while Bannon “might be willing to be a martyr for the nefarious cause that happened on Aug.
âWe will not be deterred. We don’t get distracted. And we’re not going to be late, âadded Thompson.
Tuesday evening’s vote sends the disdain resolution to the entire house, which is expected to vote on the measure on Thursday. House approval would refer the matter to the Justice Department, which would then decide whether to bring criminal charges against Bannon.
The disregard resolution states that the former Trump adviser and podcast host has no legal authority to turn down the committee – even though Trump’s attorney has argued that Bannon should not divulge any information as it is protected by the privilege of the former president’s office are. The committee found that Bannon, who was fired from his White House job in 2017, was a private individual when he spoke to Trump prior to the attack. And Trump has not made any such privilege claims against the body itself, the legislature said.
Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney, one of only two Republicans on the committee, said, “Mr. However, Bannon’s and Trump’s privilege arguments seem to reveal one thing: They suggest that President Trump was personally involved in the planning and execution of Jan. 6. And we’ll get to the bottom of that. “
The committee says it is following Bannon’s testimony because of his obvious role in the January 6th events, including his pre-siege communications with Trump, his efforts to get the former president to focus on January 6th Day Congress confirmed this presidential election and its comments on January 5th that “all hell will break loose” the next day.
Bannon “appears to have played several roles relevant to this investigation, including his role in setting up and participating in the” Stop the Steal “public relations effort that motivated the attack” and “his efforts to promote political and other activities prior to Dec. January to plan â. âWrote the committee in the resolution recommending contempt.
The Biden White House has denied Bannon’s allegations and assistant attorney Jonathan Su wrote to Bannon’s attorney this week to say that “at this point we have no basis for your client’s refusal to appear on testimony.” Biden’s judgment that executive privilege is not justified, Su wrote, “applies to your client’s testimony and to any documents your client may have.”
When asked if the Justice Department should prosecute those who refuse to testify, Biden said last week. But the Justice Department quickly pushed back, and a spokesman said the department would make its own decisions.
While Bannon said he needs a court order before he can honor his subpoena, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and former White House and Pentagon adviser Kashyap Patel have been negotiating with the committee. It is unclear whether a fourth former White House adviser, Dan Scavino, will follow suit.
The committee has also summoned more than a dozen people who helped plan Trump rallies before the siege, and some of them are already handing over documents and giving testimony.
The vote came a day after Trump sued the committee and the National Archives to fight the release of documents the committee requested. Trump’s lawsuit, filed after Biden said he would allow the documents to be published, claims the panel’s August request was too broad and an “annoying, illegal fishing expedition”. Trump’s lawsuit seeks to invalidate the entire Congressional motion by calling it overly broad, inappropriately burdensome and a challenge to the separation of powers. It applies for a court order to prohibit the archivist from handing over the documents.
The Biden administration, in releasing the documents for release, said the forcible siege of the Capitol more than nine months ago was such an exceptional circumstance that it was justified to forego the privilege that normally protects White House communications.
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