Raskin floats inherent contempt as former Trump aides defy Jan. 6 subpoenas

Raskin floats inherent contempt as former Trump aides defy Jan. 6 subpoenas
Rep. Jamie Raskin in March 2019, AFGE.

The House select committee to investigate the attack on the U.S. Capitol issued three more subpoenas on Thursday, seeking information about the set of rallies planned on Jan. 6. The new subpoenas went to Nathan Martin, Ali Abdul Akbar (also known as Ali Alexander), and Stop the Steal LLC. But on the same day, deadlines expired for four former Trump aides to comply with committee subpoenas, with Donald Trump explicitly telling them not to cooperate and one, former campaign manager Steve Bannon, announcing he'd follow Trump's instructions and refuse to cooperate.

While the instruction from Trump's lawyers to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, aide Dan Scavino, administration official and diehard loyalist Kash Patel, and Bannon cited "the executive and other privileges, including among others the presidential communications, deliberative process, and attorney-client privileges," claims that wouldn't apply to Martin, Alexander or Stop the Steal, it's a likely sign of the level of cooperation coming from those targets as well. We are talking about people who fomented an insurrection to try to block the peaceful transition of power.

As for Meadows, Scavino, Patel, and Bannon, the White House has already said that President Joe Biden—the person who actually has executive privilege these days—has "concluded that it would not be appropriate to assert executive privilege," and members of the Jan. 6 committee have made clear that they are not taking no for an answer.

Rep. Jamie Raskin, a member of the committee, said it was up to Rep. Bennie Thompson, the committee chair, but "I believe this is a matter of the utmost seriousness and we need to consider the full panoply of enforcement sanctions available to us, and that means criminal contempt citations, civil contempt citations and the use of Congress's own inherent contempt powers."

Yes. Inherent contempt, please! Send the sergeant-at-arms after them.

Alexander and Martin attempted to organize a "One Nation Under God" rally against "the election fraud in the swing states."

According to the subpoena, "Mr. Alexander explained it was the intention of Stop the Steal to direct earlier attendees of a rally on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C. oh Jan. 6 held by Women for America First and 'sponsored' by Stop the Steal to march at the conclusion of that rally to Lot 8 on the U.S. Capitol Grounds, which is the location for which the [U.S. Capitol Police] granted the permit for the 'One Nation Under God,' rally."

So you can see why the committee would be interested in hearing from the organizers of the event planned to occur on the Capitol grounds after the earlier rally. Also, the committee's letter to Alexander notes, "According to press reports, in the weeks before the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, you made repeated reference during Stop the Steal-sponsored events to the possible use of violence to achieve the organization's goals and claimed to have been in communication with the White House and members of Congress regarding events planned to coincide with the certification of the 2020 election results."

First and foremost, though, the committee must move aggressively after Meadows, Scavino, Patel, and Bannon. We know that just days earlier Trump was personally trying to get the Justice Department to overturn the election. It's not like there's some big disconnect between Jan. 3, when Trump really wanted to fire the acting attorney general and replace him with a toady eager to instruct state legislatures to set aside their states' election results but just concluded it wouldn't work, and Jan. 6, when Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in an effort to prevent Congress from certifying the results of the election. These are all part of one series of events, and the reason for that is that Donald Trump could not accept that he lost an election and was looking for every bit of leverage he could muster to overturn that election. We need the whole story, and the whole story hinges on Trump and his aides.

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