Saturday, November 27

US lawmakers to hold Steve Bannon in contempt

(CNN) — The Democrat-controlled US House of Representatives is expected to vote Thursday to declare Steve Bannon, one of former President Donald Trump’s closest allies, in criminal contempt of Congress after he challenged a citation of the commission that investigates the insurrection of January 6 in the Capitol.

The action marks a significant escalation in how far they are willing to go to reprimand people who refuse to cooperate as they investigate the violent attack that sought to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, in which Democrat Joe Biden prevailed over Trump.

The full House vote to indict Bannon in criminal contempt before Congress will trigger a referral to the Justice Department, which would have to decide whether to prosecute him.

This action in the plenary session of the Chamber occurs after the commission toformally prove Bannon’s plea in contempt Tuesday night, ushering in the House vote, which will serve as a warning to potential witnesses about the consequences of not cooperating with the investigation.

Steve bannon Twitter

Steve Bannon, one of former President Donald Trump’s closest allies.

On Tuesday night, members of the commission lashed out at Bannon for refusing to cooperate with the panel’s investigation, warning that he is “isolated” in doing so as other witnesses are working with the panel.

“We want Bannon to respond”

“Our goal is simple: we want Mr. Bannon to answer our questions. We want him to turn over all documents that he has that are relevant to the commission’s investigation,” said the president, Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, in his opening speech.

Republican Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, one of two Republicans on the commission, said during the meeting that “it appears that Mr. Bannon had substantial advance knowledge of the January 6 plans and likely played a significant role in the formulation of those plans “.

“The American people are entitled to first-hand testimony from Mr. Bannon on all of these relevant facts,” he said.

Steve Bannon, Trump’s former adviser, was arrested 2:52

Bannon has previously argued that cannot cooperate with the committee until issues of executive privilege enjoyed by the President of the United States are resolved by the courts.

His lawyer has said that “executive privilege belongs to President Trump” and “we must accept his direction and honor his invocation of executive privilege.”

“The clear fact here is that Mr. Bannon has no legal right to ignore the commission’s subpoena,” Cheney said Tuesday.

Next steps after the vote

Following the plenary vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to certify the report to the District of Columbia attorney. By law, this certification requires the United States attorney to “bring the matter before the grand jury for action,” but the Department of Justice will also make its own determinations for prosecution.

“I hope that the House will quickly pass this referral to the Department of Justice and that the US Attorney will do his duty and prosecute Mr. Bannon for criminal contempt of Congress,” Thompson said Tuesday.

The US attorney’s office in Washington has issued a statement on Thursday’s vote, saying the Justice Department “will evaluate the matter based on the facts and the law.”

Twitter permanently suspends Steve Bannon’s account 0:40

“If the House of Representatives certifies a citation for criminal contempt, the Department of Justice, as with all criminal referrals, will evaluate the matter based on the facts and the law, consistent with the Principles of Federal Prosecution,” he said. Bill Miller, a spokesman for the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.

Attorney General Merrick Garland is expected to appear as a witness at a House court hearing Thursday morning focused on oversight of the Justice Department.

Anyone found liable for contempt of Congress would be guilty of a crime that can carry a fine and between one and 12 months in prison. But this process is rarely invoked and rarely leads to jail.

A process that could take years

Indicting Bannon for criminal contempt through prosecution could take years, and historically, criminal contempt cases have been thwarted by appeals and acquittals.

As a result, the Chamber’s search for criminal charges may be more about making an example of Bannon and sending a message to other potential witnesses.

“I want our witnesses to understand something very clearly. If they are thinking of following the path that Mr. Bannon has followed, they are advised that this is what they will face,” Thompson said Tuesday.

“The process we have started tonight is serious. It rarely happens and we would prefer to avoid it altogether, but it is not reserved for Steve Bannon alone. If other witnesses challenge this committee, if they do not cooperate, we will return to this room with a new report with the names of anyone who mistakenly believes that he is above the law. ”

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