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House Holds Steve Bannon in Contempt

He faces prosecution by the Justice Department over refusal to appear at Jan. 6 hearing
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 19, 2021 8:10 PM CDT
Updated Oct 21, 2021 3:27 PM CDT
Jan. 6 Panel Votes to Hold Bannon in Contempt
Rep. Bennie Thompson speaks as the committee meets to hold Steve Bannon in contempt, Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(Newser) Update: The full House has voted to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress, reports the Hill. The vote was 229-202, largely along party lines. The former Trump aide refused to appear before a House panel investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. What happens next is in the hands of the Justice Department. If the department decides to present the case to a grand jury, Bannon could eventually face a fine or jail time, or both. Our original story from Oct. 19 follows:

story continues below

A House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection voted unanimously Tuesday to hold former White House aide Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress after the longtime ally of former President Donald Trump defied a subpoena for documents and testimony. The committee’s chairman, Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, said Tuesday that Bannon "stands alone in his complete defiance of our subpoena" and the panel will not take no for an answer. He said that while Bannon may be “willing to be a martyr to the disgraceful cause of whitewashing what happened on January 6th—of demonstrating his complete loyalty to the former president,” the contempt vote is a warning to other witnesses, the AP reports.

"We won't be deterred. We won't be distracted. And we won't be delayed," Thompson added. The Tuesday evening vote sends the contempt resolution to the full House, which is expected to vote on the measure Thursday. House approval would send the matter to the Justice Department, which would then decide whether to pursue criminal charges against Bannon. The contempt resolution asserts that the former Trump aide and podcast host has no legal standing to rebuff the committee—even as Trump’s lawyer has argued that Bannon should not disclose information because it is, he claims, protected by the privilege of the former president’s office.

Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, one of just two Republicans on the committee, said: "Mr. Bannon’s and Mr. Trump’s privilege arguments do appear to reveal one thing, however: They suggest that President Trump was personally involved in the planning and execution of January 6th. And we will get to the bottom of that." The committee says it is pursuing Bannon’s testimony because of his apparent role in the events of Jan. 6, including his communications with Trump ahead of the siege, his efforts to get the former president to focus on Jan. 6, the day Congress certified the presidential vote, and his comments on Jan. 5 that "all hell is going to break loose" the next day. (Trump sued the committee and the National Archives Monday to fight the release of documents.)

(Read more Steve Bannon stories.)

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