The Jan. 6 Select Committee has filed the report on Steve Bannon’s refusing to comply to its subpoena, which will face a vote Tuesday to move forward in charging Bannon with contempt of Congress.
The report outlines the paper trial of the committee’s attempt to compel Bannon to testify before the committee. Former President Donald Trump has claimed executive privilege, and Bannon has vowed to abide by Trump’s wishes, pointing committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., to Trump’s legal team or the courts to clear him to testify.
Thompson wrote to Bannon any assertion of executive privilege “will not prevent the Select Committee from lawfully obtaining the information it seeks.”
The Select Committee is scheduled to meet Tuesday evening to vote on a report recommending the House cite Bannon for criminal contempt of Congress and refer him to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia for prosecution.
The report’s claim of contempt of Congress reads:
“Mr. Bannon has relied on no legal authority to support his refusal to comply in any fashion with the subpoena. Mr. Bannon’s refusal to comply with the subpoena is ostensibly based on his decision to ‘honor [former President Trump’s] invocation of executive privilege’ and instruction that, ‘to the fullest extent permitted by law,’ Mr. Bannon ‘invoke any immunities and privileges he may have from compelled testimony,’ ‘not produce any documents concerning privileged material,’ and ‘not provide any testimony concerning privileged material.’ Far from being ‘permitted by law,’ Mr. Bannon’s conduct in response to the Select Committee’s subpoena constitutes a violation of the contempt of Congress statutory provisions.”
The report also claims Trump has not officially invoked executive privilege with the Jan. 6 Select Committee, which he considers partisan, having just Democrats and two anti-Trump Republicans, Reps. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., and Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., on the panel.
The report adds:
“Here, the Select Committee has not been provided with any formal invocation of executive privilege by the President, the former president, or any other employee of the executive branch. Mr. [Bannon’s attorney Robert J.] Costello’s October 13th letter merely states that the attorney for former President Trump had informed him that ‘President Trump is exercising his executive privilege.’ This third-hand, non-specific assertion of privilege, without any description of the documents or testimony over which privilege.”
The panel added “Bannon is not entitled to absolute immunity,” writing:
“Mr. Bannon has refused to provide any responsive documents or appear for a deposition based on his asserted reliance on Mr. Trump’s purported invocation of executive privilege. However, even if Mr. Trump had invoked executive privilege, and even if certain testimony or documents would fall within that privilege, Mr. Bannon would not be immune from compelled testimony before the Select Committee.”
The committee will convene Tuesday to vote on the report and proceed with charges of contempt of Congress.
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