House committee probing Jan. 6 weighs criminal contempt referral for Steve Bannon over subpoena refusal

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  • The House Select Committee probing the deadly Capitol riots said it may soon pursue a referral to hold former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress.
  • “Bannon has indicated that he will seek to hide behind vague references to the privileges of the former president,” the House panel said in a statement.
  • NBC News reports that the Biden administration has blocked Trump’s attempt to keep documents related to Jan. 6 out of the hands of the select committee.

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The House Select Committee probing the deadly Capitol riots said Friday it will soon move a referral to hold former Trump adviser Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with the summons. can.

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The House panel said in a statement, Bannon, who left then-President Donald Trump’s White House before the Capitol invasion on January 6, “has indicated that he is trying to hide behind vague references to the former president’s privileges.” will do.”

“While the Select Committee welcomes goodwill engagement with witnesses seeking to cooperate with our investigation, we will not allow any witness to disobey a valid subpoena or attempt to run the clock, and we will expedite Congress will consider pursuing criminal contempt of referral,” Chairman Benny Thompson, D-Miss., and Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Vio, said in the statement.

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It is not clear how quickly the selection committee can pursue criminal contempt referrals. When a person disobeys a Congressional summons, the House can certify a contempt citation to the executive branch. However, the Biden administration has blocked Trump’s attempt to keep documents related to January 6 out of the hands of the Select Committee, NBC News reported.

White House counsel Dana Remus wrote in a letter to the National Archives, NBC, “President Biden has determined that a claim of executive privilege is not in the best interest of the United States, and is therefore not justified as any document.” ” informed of.

Remus reportedly wrote, “The constitutional protection of executive privilege should not be used to protect Congress or the public from what shows a clear and obvious attempt to overthrow the Constitution.”

The selection committee had set a deadline for Bannon to produce the requested material by Thursday, which he missed. The panel also set a date for next Thursday for Bannon to appear for the statement.

The statement said Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows and former Defense Department official Kashyap Patel, two Trump aides to whom the summons was issued, “are, so far, engaging with the select committee.”

politician Thursday’s report said Trump himself is instructing Bannon, Meadows, Patel and former communications aide Dan Scavino to disobey committee subpoenas.

Asked about that report, a Trump spokesperson sent CNBC a statement from the former president saying that “executive privilege will be defended.”

Earlier Friday, a New York Times reporter tweeted Screenshot of a letter by Bannon’s lawyer responding to the Select Committee summons. That letter cites a message from Trump’s attorney, Justin Clark, who instructs Bannon not to produce any documents or testimony “with respect to privileged material” in response to the summons.

Screenshots show Bannon’s lawyer, Robert Costello, writing that since Trump has said he plans to invoke executive privilege, “we must accept his directive and honor his call”.

“We will follow the directions of the courts when they rule on these claims of both executive and attorney client privileges,” Costello reportedly wrote.

Costello did not respond to CNBC’s inquiries about that reported letter. A spokesman for Meadows did not respond to CNBC’s request for comment about Trump’s alleged directive that he does not comply with the committee’s subpoena.

The select committee was formed by Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after Senate Republicans thwarted an attempt to create an equally bipartisan “9/11-style” commission on January 6.

The panel, which includes seven Democrats and two Republicans, aims to give a definitive report on the attack, when hundreds of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building and Congress’s attempt to confirm President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory. Derailed.

This is developing news. Please check back for updates.

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