Jan. 6 Committee Threatens Criminal Contempt Of Congress Referral After Bannon’s Defiance

Steve Bannon
Former Chief Strategist for US President Donald Trump, Stephen Bannon (Photo by John Lamparski/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

A day after Steve Bannon’s lawyer told the House Jan. 6 committee that his client will defy its subpoena, the committee published a bristling statement 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,” Committee chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and vice chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) said in a statement.

Bannon’s lawyer, Robert Costello, told the committee Thursday that former President Donald Trump had asked advisers to invoke executive immunity in order to avoid handing over documents or giving testimony. 

Bannon, Meadows, Patel and former White House deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino comprise the committee’s first round of subpoenas. 

Bannon in particular had departed from the White House by 2017, long before January 6 and the events leading up to it, making his claims of executive privilege even more suspect. To hold Bannon or any witness in criminal contempt, the committee would have to hold a vote on a contempt resolution, which would then go to the full House for a vote. 

The committee is seeking to depose all four men next week, which could set up more potential contempt referrals if the deadline is ignored. 

“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.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest News
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriter:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: