Cheney Reiterates Jan. 6 Panel’s Threat Of Criminal Contempt For Uncooperative Trump Administration Witnesses

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 29: Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) listens during a House Armed Services Committee hearing on the conclusion of military operations in Afghanistan at the Rayburn House Office building on Capitol Hi... WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 29: Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) listens during a House Armed Services Committee hearing on the conclusion of military operations in Afghanistan at the Rayburn House Office building on Capitol Hill on September 29, 2021 in Washington, DC. The committee held the hearing “to receive testimony on the conclusion of military operations in Afghanistan and plans for future counterterrorism operations.” (Photo by Olivier Douliery - Pool/Getty Images) MORE LESS

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), vice chair of the Jan. 6 select committee, on Tuesday reiterated that the panel is prepared to advance criminal contempt charges against those who refuse to comply with its subpoenas.

Speaking to reporters at the Capitol on Tuesday evening, Cheney, who leads the committee alongside Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), said that the panel will enforce subpoenas if those who receive them do not cooperate.

“In general, people are going to have to appear, or, you know, we will move contempt charges against them,” Cheney said, adding that the entire committee was in agreement on that point, according to Reuters.

Cheney reportedly said that the committee expected to have depositions from Trump former chief of staff Mark Meadows and former Defense Department official Kash Patel later this week.

“We’ll see if they show up. If they show up, we’ll be prepared,” Cheney said, according to Reuters.

Late last month, the committee subpoenaed four former Trump administration officials: Meadows, Patel, former White House adviser Steve Bannon and former White House deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino.

Last week, Bannon’s lawyer told the committee that his client will defy its subpoena after former President Trump asked former aides and advisers to invoke executive immunity in order to avoid handing over documents or giving testimony. The panel issued a bristling statement in response to Bannon’s defiance of its subpoena, vowing to consider referring uncooperative witnesses for criminal contempt of Congress.

“While Mr. Meadows and Mr. Patel are, so far, engaging with the Select Committee, Mr. Bannon has indicated that he will try to hide behind vague references to privileges of the former President,” Thompson and Cheney said in a statement last week.

“Though the Select Committee welcomes good-faith engagement with witnesses seeking to cooperate with our investigation, we will not allow any witness to defy a lawful subpoena or attempt to run out the clock, and we will swiftly consider advancing a criminal contempt of Congress referral,” the committee chairs wrote.

The White House declined to assert executive privilege on Trump’s behalf, rejecting the former president’s attempt to shield Jan. 6 documents from Congress, following the committee’s statement on Bannon’s refusal to cooperate with its subpoena.

“President Biden has determined that an assertion of executive privilege is not in the best interests of the United States, and therefore is not justified as to any of the documents,” wrote White House counsel Dana Remus in a letter to the National Archives, according to NBC News

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