Nine Republicans broke with their party in a vote that saw Donald Trump Ally Bannon held in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena issued by a committee probing the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
The House Democrats voted Thursday to hold former President Donald Trump’s supporter Stephen Bannon in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena to turn over documents and provide testimony related to a congressional investigation into the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
In a nearly party-line vote, 229-202, the House adopted a resolution for a criminal contempt referral that’ll now make its way to the Justice Department. Attorney General Merrick Garland will decide whether to prosecute Bannon for evading a subpoena from the House Jan. 6 select committee, a charge that could lead to fines or jail time.
Trump Ally Bannon Held in Contempt
According to US News, Nine Republicans broke with their party in support of finding Bannon in contempt, including the two who sit on the select committee, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois. Both members voted to impeach Trump earlier this year over his handling of the riots.
The Jan. 6 panel has been investigating the deadly attack, what led up to it, and if anyone in the Trump administration, including the former president, had any involvement or knowledge. The committee has so far subpoenaed four previous Trump aides, though Bannon wasn’t working for the White House at the time. He previously served as White House chief strategist.
While at least two of the other former advisers are so far cooperating, Bannon is leaning on the same argument as Trump: He has executive privileges over his records and testimony. The former president is deploying the strategy over a tranche of White House documents requested by the select committee from the National Archives and Records Administration. President Joe Biden has said he won’t assert privileges over the first batch of requested records, prompting Trump to sue the committee and government agency to block their disclosure to Congress.
“Withholding information on the events of that day from the committee is no less than an act of betrayal of the American people and of our constitutional democracy,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland said. “The American people need to understand what led to the violent insurrection that sought to overturn our election and led to the deaths of multiple police officers and others.”
Republicans encouraged their conference to vote against the resolution, mostly banding together in opposition to the Democrat-led select committee. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California initially appointed five members to serve on the panel, but when Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California vetoed two of them, the GOP leader pulled all nominations and refused participation. Pelosi appointed Cheney and Kinzinger along with seven Democrats.
At a Thursday press conference prior to the vote, McCarthy argued that Bannon should first be able to determine whether his assessment of executive privileges protecting him from handing over documents and offering testimony will legally hold up.
“They’re issuing an invalid subpoena. (Bannon) has a right to go to court to see if he has executive privilege or not. I don’t know if he does or not but neither does the committee,” McCarthy said. “So they’re weakening the power of Congress itself by issuing an invalid subpoena.”