Jan 6 commission threatens criminal referrals after Steve Bannon snubbed subpoena
The special House committee investigating the January 6 riot on the U.S. Capitol threatens to hand over criminal contempt referrals after an attorney for former Trump strategist Steve Bannon said his client failed would not cooperate with subpoenas.
Bannon was one of four advisers to former President Donald Trump who faced a deadline Thursday to hand over documents relating to the day’s events, along with former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows the former social media director Dan Scavino and Kashyap Patel, who was chief of staff to Trump’s defense secretary.
In a joint statement, Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., And Vice-Chairman Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., Said: “While Mr. Meadows and Mr. Patel are, so far, engaged with the select committee, Bannon said he would try to hide behind vague references to the former president’s privileges. “
The statement did not mention Scavino.
Thompson and Cheney said the committee “fully expects all of these witnesses to comply with our requests for documents and testimony,” and “we will not allow any witness to defy a legal subpoena or attempt to miss the mark. time limit, and we will quickly consider advancing a criminal referral for contempt of Congress. “
Such a referral would essentially ask the Department of Justice to prosecute a person for contempt of Congress. If convicted, the person could face fines or up to a year behind bars.
In a letter to the committee dated Oct. 7, Bannon’s attorney, Robert Costello, said Trump’s attorney, Justin Clark, told him that Trump plans to claim “executive and other privileges.” “(U) Until these issues are resolved, we will not be able to respond to your request for documents and testimony,” Costello wrote.
He added: “We will abide by court instructions, when and if they rule on these claims of solicitor-client privilege and solicitor-client privilege” – although Bannon is not a lawyer and Trump has yet filed no legal action.
Unlike Meadows, Scavino and Patel, Bannon was not a member of the administration when he advised Trump in the run-up to January 6. NBC News legal analyst Glenn Kirschner said it would. much more difficult for Bannon to try to claim executive privilege.
Trump also tried to invoke executive privilege to prevent the National Archives from handing over documents of his presidency to the committee, but the White House Biden rejected at least one such request, NBC News reported on Friday.
A source familiar with the matter confirmed reports on Thursday that Trump ordered his former aides to defy subpoenas.
A representative for Meadows declined to comment.
In a statement Friday, Patel said: “I can confirm that I responded to the summons in a timely manner. Beyond that, I will not comment on my confidential relationship with the Committee. But I can assure you. that I will continue to tell the truth. “
Bannon, who Trump fired from the White House in 2017, was indicted in August last year on wire fraud and money laundering charges.
Prosecutors alleged that Bannon’s “We’re Building the Wall” crowdfunding campaign took donated hundreds of thousands of dollars and used it for personal expenses.
Trump pardoned him in his last hours of office.
Carrie Dann, Hallie jackson, Daniel barnes and Leigh Ann Caldwell contributed.