Federal prosecutors on Friday asked a judge not to dismiss a Contempt of Congress case against Donald Trump’s former senior advisor, Steve Bannon. The case is connected to a subpoena issued by House Select Committee investigating the January 6th attack on the United States Capitol.
Bannon petitioned the judge to dismiss the indictment against him on April 15th in a verbose filing where he first argued that the subpoena directed toward him was not lawfully issued because, in part, the Committee was not properly put together by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA.). Specifically, Bannon said Speaker Pelosi “failed to seat” the Republicans Reps suggested by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), but that Committee couldn’t be confirmed due to lack of bipartisan support. Instead, the House Select Committee was formed as a bipartisan panel with Republican Reps Liz Cheney of Wyoming as its Vice Chair and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois on the panel as well.
Bannon argued further that the Jan. 6th Committee’s decision to refer his refusal to sit, talk, and provide documents to the U.S. Department of Justice “violated notions of due process,” and that the statute used to prosecute him is “unconstitutional” as applied to him. He also claimed the feds “misled” the grand jury that indicted him.
Justice Dept asks court to deny Steve Bannon's request to dismiss Contempt of Congress case
DOJ: Bannon's legal claims "Have nothing to do with the facts & circumstances of his independent decision to defy the Committee’s subpoena. His motion to dismiss is another example" pic.twitter.com/H9o1HVDxAk
— Scott MacFarlane (@MacFarlaneNews) May 7, 2022
But federal prosecutors negated all of Bannon’s arguments via a competing 48-page opposition motion released on Friday. It argues that Bannon was subpoenaed “as a private party in 2020-21” and “not in his capacity as a White House advisor in 2017.”
Steve Bannon: “This has nothing to do with January 6”
Discussing his prosecution for Contempt of Congress and defying the House January 6 Select Committee pic.twitter.com/rrYJ9KcQim
— Scott MacFarlane (@MacFarlaneNews) March 16, 2022
“The Defendant contends that the Indictment should be dismissed,” the federal prosecutors noted. “His principal grievance is that his total noncompliance with the subpoena is excused by executive privilege and prior Department of Justice writings and opinions. Not so.”
Bannon claims that Trump instructed him to invoke Exec Privilege. But, @rparloff writes, "it’s not even clear that Trump ever properly asserted executive privilege over Bannon’s documents or testimony."https://t.co/yarPN3u6ZH
— Lawfare (@lawfareblog) May 6, 2022
Read the full motion here, but the TL;DR version is: Bannon either needs to hand over the materials requested by the House Select Committee or be prosecuted.