The House Jan. 6 select committee is already preparing to make good on its threat to hold former White House senior adviser Steve Bannon in criminal contempt ahead of his scheduled hearing on Thursday, according to CNN.
The panel is planning to draw up a criminal referral for the Justice Department against Bannon “immediately,” in CNN’s words, if he refuses to show up.
It appears that Bannon does indeed plan to skip the deposition on Thursday after ex-President Donald Trump’s legal team urged him to do so, citing “executive privilege.”
Bannon’s lawyer, Robert Costello, sent the committee a letter on Wednesday reaffirming the ex-White House adviser’s refusal to comply with its subpoena for both testimony and documents relevant to uncovering the extent of Trump’s potential involvement in the Capitol insurrection.
Costello argued that his client is “not required to respond” to the subpoena “at this time” as the committee wrestles with Trump over the ex-president’s privilege claim.
“Until such a time as you reach an agreement with President Trump or receive a court ruling as to the extent, scope and application of the executive privilege […] Mr. Bannon will not be producing documents or testifying,” Costello wrote.
Committee vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) reaffirmed earlier this week that the panel “will move contempt charges” against Bannon or any of the other key Trump foot soldiers who have been subpoenaed in the investigation.
Former Defense Department official Kash Patel is also slated to testify on Thursday. But unlike Bannon, Patel has been “engaging” with the committee, according to Cheney and committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS).