Politics Jan. 6 panel plans contempt vote as Trump sues over probe
Bannon will be held in contempt. What does that mean, and what powers does Congress have?
The committee on the Capitol riot scheduled a Tuesday hearing to vote on holding Steve Bannon, a former adviser to Trump, in congressional contempt.The committee scheduled a Tuesday hearing to vote on holding Bannon in congressional contempt.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A House committee tasked with investigating theis moving swiftly Tuesday to hold at least one of Donald Trump's allies in contempt as the former president is pushing back on the probe in a new lawsuit.
January 6 committee: 5 things we learned last week
The committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol had a big week. © Steve Helber/AP Political strategist Steve Bannon gestures during a speech during an election rally in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. Key decisions were made that not only cemented the tone of how the committee has chosen to operate, but also brought future roadblocks further into focus. Here's what last week tells us about the investigation: 1.
Trump is aggressively trying to block the committee's work by directing former White House aide Steve Bannon not to answer questions in the probe while alsoto try to prevent Congress from obtaining former White House documents. But lawmakers on the House committee say they will not back down as they gather facts and testimony about the attack involving Trump's supporters that left dozens of police officers injured, sent lawmakers running for their lives and interrupted the certification of President Joe Biden's victory.
“The former president’s clear objective is to stop the Select Committee from getting to the facts about January 6th and his lawsuit is nothing more than an attempt to delay and obstruct our probe," said Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the panel’s vice chairwoman, in a joint statement late Monday.
House prepares to deploy contempt against Bannon — but it won't be easy
The legal tool Democrats are using against the former adviser to Donald Trump hasn't been successfully prosecuted a single time since the Reagan administration.Welcome to criminal contempt of Congress. It's going to be messy.
They added: “It’s hard to imagine a more compelling public interest than trying to get answers about an attack on our democracy and an attempt to overturn the results of an election.”
Trump’s lawsuit, filed after Biden decided to waive his right to block the document release over executive privilege concerns, claims that the panel’s August request was overly broad and a “vexatious, illegal fishing expedition,” according to papers filed in federal court in the District of Columbia.
Jan. 6 panel votes to hold Steve Bannon in contempt
WASHINGTON (AP) — A House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection voted unanimously to hold former White House aide Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress after the longtime ally of former President Donald Trump defied a subpoena for documents and testimony. Still defending his supporters who broke into the Capitol that day, Trump has aggressively tried to block the committee’s work by directing Bannon and others not to answer questions in the probe. Trump has also filed a lawsuit to try to prevent Congress from obtaining former White House documents.
The lawsuit was expected, as Trump has repeatedly made clear that he will challenge the investigation of the violent attack by a mob of his supporters. But Trump’s challenge went beyond the initial 125 pages of records that Biden recently cleared for release to the committee. The suit, which names the committee as well as the National Archives, seeks to invalidate the entirety of the congressional request, calling it overly broad, unduly burdensome and a challenge to separation of powers. It requests a court injunction to bar the archivist from producing the documents.
The Biden administration, in clearing the documents for release, said the violent siege of the Capitol more than nine months ago was such an extraordinary circumstance that it merited waiving the privilege that usually protects White House communications.
House to vote on Bannon contempt as Justice decision looms
WASHINGTON (AP) — The House is voting Thursday on whether to hold Steve Bannon, a longtime ally and aide to former President Donald Trump, in contempt of Congress after he defied a subpoena from a committee investigating the violent Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. That committee has vowed to move swiftly and forcefully to punish anyone who won't cooperate with the probe. But it's likely up to the Justice Department, and the courts, to determine what happens next. If the House vote succeeds, as is expected, there’s still considerable uncertainty about whether the Justice Department will prosecute Bannon, despite Democratic demands for action.
The legal challenge came a day before the panel is scheduled to vote to recommend that Bannon be held in criminal contempt of Congress for his defiance of the committee’s demands for documents and testimony. In a resolution released Monday, and scheduled to be voted out of the panel on Tuesday, the committee asserts that the former Trump aide and podcast host has no legal standing to rebuff the committee — even as Trump’s lawyer has argued that Bannon should not disclose information because it is protected by the privilege of the former president's office.
Bannon was a private citizen when he spoke to Trump ahead of the attack, the committee said, and Trump has not asserted any such executive privilege claims to the panel itself.
“Mr. Bannon appears to have played a multi-faceted role in the events of January 6th, and the American people are entitled to hear his first-hand testimony regarding his actions,” the committee wrote in the resolution.
The resolution lists many ways in which Bannon was involved in the leadup to the insurrection, including reports that he encouraged Trump to focus on Jan. 6, the day Congress certified the presidential vote, and his comments on Jan. 5 that “all hell is going to break loose" the next day.
Once the committee votes on the Bannon contempt measure, it will go to the full House for a vote and then on to the Justice Department, which would decide whether to prosecute.
Donald Trump Can Be Arrested Over Jan 6. Subpoenas—Here's Why He Won't Be
Historic powers to arrest those who "obstruct" House duties may have already been discussed by January 6 Committee members, one legal expert suggested.Trump has told allies not to comply with subpoenas over the probe, according to The New York Times, and on Monday he sued the chairman of the House's January 6 committee, Bennie Thompson, and the head of the National Archives, in a bid to block access to White House documents from around the time of the riot.
In a letter obtained by The Associated Press, the White House also worked to undercut Bannon's argument. Deputy Counsel Jonathan Su wrote that the president's decision on the documents applied to Bannon, too, and “at this point we are not aware of any basis for your client’s refusal to appear for a deposition.”
“President Biden’s determination that an assertion of privilege is not justified with respect to these subjects applies to your client’s deposition testimony and to any documents your client may possess concerning either subject,” Su wrote to Bannon's lawyer.
Bannon’s attorney said he had not yet seen the letter and could not comment on it. While Bannon has said he needs a court order before complying with his subpoena, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and former White House and Pentagon aide Kashyap Patel have been negotiating with the committee. It is unclear whether a fourth former White House aide, Dan Scavino, will comply.
The committee has also subpoenaed more than a dozen people who helped plan Trump rallies ahead of the siege, and some of them have already said they would turn over documents and give testimony.
The committee has demanded a broad range of executive branch papers related to intelligence gathered before the attack, security preparations during and before the siege, the pro-Trump rallies held that day and Trump’s false claims that he won the election, among other matters.
Associated Press Writers Zeke Miller, Nomaan Merchant and Eric Tucker contributed to this report.
Reporter’s Notebook: Why subpoenas and ‘contempt of Congress’ threats don’t always last .
When it comes to subpoenas and “contempt of Congress,” Capitol Hill is kind of like a gym. Congress has these kettlebells the size of an engine block. Stacks of 45-pound plates. Rows of 100-pound barbells. There are thick, military-grade lifting belts, and there’s chalk sprinkled all over the floor. Walk around the Capitol Hill subpoena gym, and the members flex and pose like Jack LaLanne working out at Muscle Beach by the Santa Monica Pier. Their muscles pop and bulge like Popeye’s forearms just after downing a can of spinach. © Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images, File The U.S.