January 6 House committee unanimously votes to detain Steve Bannon for criminal contempt

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The special House committee investigating the January 6 attack of the United States Capitol voted unanimously on Tuesday night hold former President Trump adviser Steve Bannon for criminal contempt for challenging a subpoena and producing records.

“We believe Mr Bannon has information relevant to our investigation, and we will use the tools at our disposal to obtain that information,” President Bennie Thompson said ahead of the vote. “I expect the House to quickly pass this referral to the Department of Justice and the US prosecutor to do his duty and prosecute Mr. Bannon for criminal contempt of Congress.”

Bannon was ordered to appear before the committee last week, but his lawyer said he was following instructions from the former president’s legal team not to provide documents or testify. The committee recommended Monday night that he be detained for criminal contempt. All of the Democrats on the committee and the two Republicans on the committee, Reps Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, voted in favor of detaining Bannon for criminal contempt.

Thompson added that “There is no different set of rules for Mr. Bannon. He knows that. He knows there are consequences to total disregard. And he chose the path of it. criminal contempt for taking this position. “

Cheney also spoke ahead of the vote, saying the executive privilege arguments raised by former President Trump and Bannon “seem to reveal one thing … they suggest President Trump was personally involved in the planning and execution. January 6. And we’ll get to the bottom of that. ”

She also spoke at one point directly to her fellow Republicans.

“Almost all of you know in your heart that what happened on January 6 was deeply wrong,” Cheney said. “You know there is no evidence of widespread electoral fraud sufficient to overturn the election; you know the Dominion’s voting machines were not corrupted by a foreign power. You know these claims are false . “

She continued, “Yet President Trump repeats them almost daily. He has now urged Republicans not to vote in the 2022 and 2024 elections. It is a prescription for national self-destruction.”

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People walk past the United States Capitol in Washington on Tuesday, October 19, 2021.

Andrew Harnik / AP


The measure now goes to the Democratic-controlled House. Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced that the entire House would vote on Thursday. If a majority of the House finds him guilty of criminal contempt, the House will send the matter back to the Department of Justice for prosecution.

In a letter obtained by CBS News, Bannon’s attorney said last week he was not acting on the “challenge” of the subpoena, and underscored Mr. Trump’s attorney’s instructions. “President Trump’s counsel has stated that he is invoking executive and other privileges and therefore asked us not to produce any documents or testify that could reveal information that President Trump’s counsel seeks to legally protect,” said his lawyer.

President Biden rejected last week Mr. Trump’s assertion of executive privilege for documents requested by the committee, and the White House said it would give the panel access to federal records related to Trump’s White House and the Jan.6 insurgency.

Monday, Mr. Trump’s lawyers have filed a complaint in federal court against the committee, committee chairman Bennie Thompson, the National Archives and David Ferriero, the director of the National Archives, in an attempt to block the publication of documents related to his actions on Jan.6.

Mr. Trump spoke at the Stop the Steal rally on January 6 ahead of Congress convening to count electoral votes, a largely ceremonial final step affirming Mr. Biden’s victory. Mr. Trump encouraged his supporters to “go” to Capitol Hill to protest the election results.

Chaos erupted on Capitol Hill hours later as thousands of Mr. Trump’s supporters descended on Capitol Hill, smashing windows and ransacking the building. Lawmakers, including former Vice President Mike Pence, fled amid the riot, which resulted in the deaths of five people and the arrests of hundreds more. Mr. Trump was indicted by the House a week later for incitement to riot but was later acquitted by the Senate.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi created the House select committee earlier this year to “establish the truth” about what happened that day. Despite initial attempts to make it a bipartisan committee, Kinzinger and Cheney, two of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Mr. Trump, are the only two Republicans on the nine-person committee.

In addition to Bannon, the the committee assigned the organizers of the Stop the flight gathering, as well as a former official of the Ministry of Justice Jeffrey Clark, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Director of Communications Dan Scavino and Pentagon Chief of Staff Kashyap Patel.

Zak Hudak contributed reporting.


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