Jan. 6 committee announces it will push for criminal contempt against Steve Bannon after he defies subpoena

Jan. 6 committee announces it will push for criminal contempt against Steve Bannon after he defies subpoena
Steve Bannon // Photo credit: Gage Skidmore

The U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 attack issued a scathing statement announcing it is moving forward to obtain a formal criminal contempt of Congress charge against Steve Bannon after the far right wing political strategist refused to comply with a lawful congressional subpoena.

Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) accused Bannon of "hiding behind the former President's insufficient, blanket, and vague statements regarding privileges he has purported to invoke."

"We reject his position entirely," Chairman Thompson stated. "The Select Committee will not tolerate defiance of our subpoenas, so we must move forward with proceedings to refer Mr. Bannon for criminal contempt."

Bannon was required to produce documents and present himself to the committee Thursday for a deposition. He refused.

His attorney claims he is protected by Donald Trump's executive privilege, which the former president does not have. Even if Trump had a right to claim privilege, it would not cover Bannon for several reasons, including that he was not a government employee during the time in question. (Executive privilege does not cover criminal activity, if there was any.)

"The Select Committee will use every tool at its disposal to get the information it seeks, and witnesses who try to stonewall the Select Committee will not succeed," Thompson warned.

In his statement Thompson explained the process, which includes the Committee meeting and voting on referring Bannon for contempt. The full House would vote on the charges, and assuming passage, "it is the 'duty' of the United States Attorney to 'bring the matter before the grand jury for its action.'"

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