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US Capitol riot panel to vote on criminal contempt charges against Steve Bannon

If the House votes to recommend the contempt charges against Bannon, the Justice Department will ultimately decide whether to prosecute.

Image: Alamy Stock Photo

A CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE investigating the 6 January riot at the US Capitol in Washington DC has set a vote to recommend criminal contempt charges against former White House aide Steve Bannon after he defied the panel’s subpoena.

Representative Bennie Thompson said that the panel will vote on Tuesday to recommend the charges. That would send the recommendation to the full House for a vote.

If the House votes to recommend the contempt charges against Bannon, the Justice Department will ultimately decide whether to prosecute.

The committee had demanded documents and testimony from Bannon, who was in touch with then-president Donald Trump ahead of the violent attack.

“The Select Committee will not tolerate defiance of our subpoenas, so we must move forward with proceedings to refer Mr Bannon for criminal contempt,” Thompson said in a statement.

The committee had scheduled a deposition with Bannon today, but his lawyer has said that at Trump’s direction he would not appear.

Two other aides who worked for Trump — former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and long-time Trump social media director Dan Scavino — are scheduled for depositions tomorrow. It is unclear whether they will appear.

january-6-2021-large-crowds-of-president-trump-supporters-descending-on-us-capitol-building-after-save-america-march-capitol-hill-washington-dc-usa Large crowds of Trump supporters descending on US Capitol Building, 6 January. Source: Alamy Stock Photo

Bannon’s testimony is just one facet of an escalating congressional inquiry, with 19 subpoenas issued so far and thousands of pages of documents flowing in.

But his defiance is a crucial moment for the committee, whose members are vowing to restore the binding force of congressional subpoenas after they were routinely flouted during Trump’s time in office.

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“Mr Bannon has declined to cooperate with the Select Committee and is instead hiding behind the former president’s insufficient, blanket and vague statements regarding privileges he has purported to invoke,” Thompson said in his statement.

“We reject his position entirely.”

Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff tweeted: “We’re not messing around here. 

“People with relevant information to our investigation into January 6 must comply with lawful subpoenas. If they don’t, we will use all the tools at our disposal — including criminal contempt.”

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