The Congressional committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol announced on Thursday that it would move to hold Steve Bannon in criminal contempt for refusing to comply with a subpoena.
The House select committee sent subpoenas to Bannon and three of former President Donald Trump's other close allies on September 23.
The subpoena targets included Bannon, Trump's former chief strategist; Mark Meadows, Trump's former chief of staff; Dan Scavino, Trump's former social media director; and Kash Patel, former chief of staff to former Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller.
Bannon's attorney, Robert Costello, claimed in an October 7 letter obtained by CNN that his client was "legally unable to comply" with the committee's subpoena because of Trump's invocation of "executive privilege."
The letter came after reports that Trump's lawyers instructed Bannon and the other targets of the subpoena not to comply with the investigation.
"We will comply with the directions of the courts, when and if they rule on these claims of both executive and attorney-client privileges," Costello wrote in the letter. "Since these privileges belong to President Trump and not to Mr. Bannon, until these issues are resolved, Mr. Bannon is legally unable to comply with your subpoena requests for documents and testimony."
In response, committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (R-MS) said on Thursday that his committee will hold Bannon in criminal contempt. The proceedings will begin on October 19, when the House committee will vote to adopt a contempt report for Bannon.
The subpoenas told the witnesses to produces materials and correspondence from January 6 and the preceding days leading up to the attack on the Capitol. They also instructed Bannon and the three other witnesses to appear at depositions on October 14 and 15 to further discuss their role and coordination in the events that led to the attack.
Aside from being a close adviser to Trump, Bannon was one of the key proponents behind the January 6 attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in Trump's favor. On Wednesday night, Bannon attended a rally in Henrico, Virginia, to support Glenn Youngkin's gubernatorial campaign. The event's attendees also recited the Pledge of Allegiance to a flag that had supposedly been "carried" at the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
As for the other three witnesses subpoenaed by the committee, the Washington Post reports that Meadows and Patel, who were scheduled to appear before the committee this week, will be provided an extension. Scavino's subpoena, meanwhile, was delayed because no one could find him for a few days.
"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 said. "We're moving ahead quickly to get answers for the American people about what happened on January 6th and help secure the future of American democracy."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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