The Trump adviser was on the radio saying about January 6th that “ALL HELL WOULD BE BREAKING LOOSE”
Former President Trump’s adviser Steve Bannon’s apparent disdain, for the order from The House select committee, to produce evidence critical to the investigation of the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, has been rewarded with criminal contempt.
When Bannon did not show it was recommended by the committee that he be held in contempt. The decision was unanimously passed last night, October 19, after all the Democrats and the two Republicans on the committee, including Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, voted in favour of holding Bannon in criminal contempt. [Article Continued Clip from Rachel Maddow Show]
Bannon had been ordered to appear before the committee last Friday, October 15 through a subpoena but he refused as according to his attorney, he said that he had been instructed to decline by the former president’s legal team. His lawyer further stated that he was told to not provide documents or testify.
Rep. Bennie Thompson noted that “there isn’t a different set of rules for Mr. Bannon. He knows this. He knows there are consequences for outright defiance. And he’s chosen the path toward criminal contempt by taking this position.”
Before the vote was eventually passed, Thompson also stated that the committee believed that Bannon has crucial information which is relevant to the ongoing investigation. He also said that he was hopeful that the decision would be upheld by the House.
“I expect that the House will quickly adopt this referral to the Justice Department and that the U.S. Attorney will do his duty and prosecute Mr. Bannon for criminal contempt of Congress,” he continued.
Cheney also commented on the matter and stated that she felt that Bannon’s no-show was almost a direct indicator that Trump was involved in the January 6 attacks on the capital.
She is quoted as saying that his refusal, “appear to reveal one thing…they suggest that President Trump was personally involved in the planning and execution of January 6. And we will get to the bottom of that.”
Cheney also implicated other Republicans saying that some of them were well aware of the plans on that dreadful day.
“You know that there is no evidence of widespread election fraud sufficient to overturn the election; you know that the Dominion voting machines were not corrupted by a foreign power. You know those claims are false,” she added.
She also blasted the former president for repeating false claims on a daily basis that he lost the 2020 election. Cheney also revealed that one of Trump’s latest tactics is to urge Republicans not to vote in the 2022 and 2024 elections. Something she said would be disastrous for the Republican party.
The next step in the contempt charge is for it to go before House which is controlled by the Democrats. A vote, from the full House, is expected tomorrow, October 21. Should the House find him guilty of criminal contempt, then the case will be referred to the Justice Department for prosecution.
Following that, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to certify the report to the United States attorney for the District of Columbia. The certification would mean that the United States attorney may bring the matter before the grand jury for its action however the Justice Department will also make its own determinations for prosecution.
According to a letter circulating in the media from Bannon’s lawyers, his refusal to appear is not defiance. The letter further stated that President Trump’s counsel said that they were invoking executive and other privileges. The letter also indicated that Banon’s team was directed not to produce documents or give testimony that might reveal information which President Trump’s counsel seeks to legally protect.
Trump believes that he and his team should benefit from executive privilege with regard to the investigation. A notion that has already been denied by President Biden. The White House has already indicated that it would give the panel access to federal records connected to the Trump White House and the January 6 insurrection.
Trump, of course, is fighting these measures and requests. Last Monday, October 18, his attorneys filed a lawsuit in federal court against the committee’s chair Bennie Thompson, the National Archives and David Ferriero, the director of the National Archives, as his team sought to block the release of documents related to the investigation.
It is widely believed that he had a primary role in inciting the mob that descended on the White House on January 6. This is mostly based on the fact that he spoke at Stop the Steal rally on the day just before Congress convened to count the electoral votes. He was heard urging his followers to “walk over” to the Capitol to protest the results of the election.
The committee has also subpoenaed the organizers of the Stop the Steal rally, and former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark. Others expected to appear before the committee include former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, communications director Dan Scavino and Pentagon chief of staff Kashyap Patel.
This represents the seriousness of the committee in trying to ascertain the truth of the events that day, especially as it pertains to Trump’s role. While it still has to be voted on, experts believe that this action will help encourage more witnesses to respond to requests to provide evidence as the charge for contempt of Congress could result in a fine and between one and 12 months’ imprisonment.
As Thompson put it before the vote: “The American people are entitled to Mr. Bannon’s first-hand testimony about all these relevant facts, but Mr. Bannon is refusing to provide it.”