Steve Bannon faces criminal contempt vote

Select Committee looking into the Capitol attack is to vote over his refusal to comply with a subpoena

Far-right Trump ally and former senior adviser, Steven Bannon, is likely to be held in criminal contempt of the House of Representatives for defying a subpoena, as a Democrat-led ‘Select Committee’ looking into the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol is expected, on Tuesday, to vote to send the matter to the full House. The Democrat-controlled legislative chamber is highly likely to approve sending the contempt charges to the Justice Department as early as this week. Mr. Bannon has refused to comply with a subpoena seeking documents and his presence for a deposition, on the grounds that former President Donald Trump has said information sought is protected by ‘executive privilege’ and that former staffers need not therefore comply with subpoenas. Mr. Trump filed a suit against the Committee and the National Archives in a District Court in Washington DC on Monday. The lawsuit called the Committee’s request a “vexatious, illegal fishing expedition”.

The House is investigating Mr. Bannon’s role in the January 6 attack, when a far-right mob stormed the Capitol in order to disrupt the certification of the 2020 election, which Mr. Biden won. In his War Room podcast episode of January 5, Mr. Bannon had said, “All hell is going to break loose tomorrow.” He also spoke with Mr. Trump on December 30, the Committee said, suggesting that Mr. Trump focus his efforts on January 6, the New York Times had reported.

Other Trump administration officials who were subpoenaed by the Select Committee are Indian American Kash Patel, a former Chief of Staff to the Acting Defense Secretary, and White House officials Mark Meadows and Dan Scavino.

The Biden administration has declined to apply ‘executive privilege’ as sought by Mr. Trump, over the White House documents in question and has approved an initial 125 pages for release. Mr. Bannon left the White House in 2017, after which he became a private citizen — it is therefore not clear if Mr. Trump’s conversations with Mr. Bannon are covered by executive privilege.

“The Select Committee believes that this willful refusal to comply with the Subpoena constitutes a violation of federal law,” Chairman of the Select Committee, Bennie Thompson, reportedly said in a letter to Mr. Bannon’s lawyer, Robert Costello.

Mr. Costello has told the Committee that Mr. Bannon will not produce documents until a court orders him to do so or an arrangement is reached with Mr. Trump, as per reports.

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