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[BREAKING/DEVELOPING] Jan 6th Select Committee Votes to Seek Contempt Charges for Steve Bannon

[BREAKING/DEVELOPING] Jan 6th Select Committee Votes to Seek Contempt Charges for Steve Bannon

The House Select Committee probing the deadly January 6th assault on the Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump on Tuesday evening voted unanimously (9-0) on a resolution to approve a request to seek Contempt of Congress charges against Steve Bannon. While their vote on whether to recommend contempt charges was essentially just a formality to move forward on holding Bannon accountable, Committee Chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) still took the moment to read an opening statement during which he proclaimed, “We won’t take no for an answer.” If the House approves and passes the referral as expected, the Justice Department will decide whether to pursue a criminal case.

The Committee earlier on Tuesday had rejected an attempt by Bannon’s attorney to push back the hearing for a week to keep his client from testifying.

[Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images]

In a report on Monday, the committee had argued that Bannon made statements suggesting he knew ahead of time about “extreme events” on Jan. 6, when Congress was scheduled to certify Democrat Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential election. Bannon said on a Jan. 5 podcast that “All hell is going to break loose tomorrow.” The next day thousands of Trump supporters descended on the Capitol building, in an attempt to overturn Trump’s election defeat, which Trump falsely claimed was the result of widespread fraud.

Before leaving office in January, Trump pardoned Bannon of charges that he had swindled Trump’s supporters with his “Build the Wall” charity. Trump has urged all former aides subpoenaed by the panel to reject its requests, claiming the right to withhold information because of executive privilege, a legal principle that protects many White House communications.

But President Joe Biden released a statement late last week saying Trump has no legitimate privilege claim, and therefore neither does Bannon. “The former president’s actions represented a unique – and existential – threat to our democracy that can’t be swept under the rug,” White House spokesman Michael Gwin said. “The constitutional protections of executive privilege should not be used to shield information that reflects a clear and apparent effort to subvert the Constitution itself.”

“The issue today is about the ability to do our jobs,” Rep. Thompson said in his statement before the vote was held. “It is essential we get Mr. Bannon’s full and complete testimony.”

“Mr. Bannon stands alone in his defiance of this committee”, Thompson continued. He asked the viewers watching the live broadcast to imagine what would happen to them if they defied a Congressional subpoena, and then said Bannon deserves the same exact punishment. Thompson also issued a warning to other witnesses: that if they fail to cooperate, they can expect to be treated the same way as they play to treat Bannon.

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Vice-Chair Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) read her own statement regarding January 6th and echoed Rep. Thompson’s sentiments that no one, not even a former president and his staff, is above the law. Then Cheney read the formal charge against Bannon to make the report to the House, and the entire panel voted “aye” with a fully recorded vote where each committee verbally asserted their votes.

The Committee met despite an attempt to stall the proceedings.

[This is a developing story, please check back for updates]



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