January 6 panel to move forward with Steve Bannon criminal contempt report Tuesday

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The criminal contempt report is expected to go on the floor without any protest from committee members and marks a significant milestone in the investigation as the panel expects even the remotest threat of jail time to be sent to Trump-aligned witnesses. encourages them to cooperate.

Any person found liable for contempt of Congress shall be guilty of an offense which may result in fine and imprisonment of one to 12 months. But the process is rarely enforced and rarely leads to jail time – although the House search of criminal charges may be more about setting an example than Bannon and sending messages to other potential witnesses.

The contempt report, which was released on Monday night, outlines the efforts made by the committee to get the witness to comply with the summons and the failure by the witness to do so.
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Ahead of its business meeting on Tuesday night, the committee released new correspondence that reported Bannon’s attorney had written to the committee asking it to delay Tuesday’s meeting in light of Trump filing a lawsuit against the National Archives. .

“In light of this late filing, we respectfully request a one-week adjournment,” Bannon’s attorney, Robert Jay Costello, wrote Monday.


Committee chairman Benny Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, later declined a request to delay the committee’s business meeting to proceed with criminal contempt because he argued that the litigation was referring to Costello “Mr. The selection committee’s demand for documents and testimony from Bannon is unimportant.”

After Tuesday’s meeting, the report is sent to the House for vote. If the vote is successful, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi certifies the report to the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia. Under the law, this certification requires a United States attorney to “bring the matter before the grand jury for its action,” but the Justice Department will also make its own determination for prosecution.

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As serious as a criminal contempt referral sounds, the House’s choice to use the Justice Department may be more of a warning shot than a solution. It can take years for Bannon to be held in criminal contempt through a prosecution, and historically, criminal contempt cases have been derailed by appeals and acquittals.

According to a copy obtained by Granthshala, the committee sent Bannon a letter Friday, rejecting his reasoning for failing to comply with his subpoena and his claim of executive privilege, specifically the addition of Trump. Relating to their communication with other persons.
Bannon has previously argued that he is unable to cooperate with the committee until matters of executive privilege are resolved by the courts, but Friday’s response makes clear what the panel believes that “deliberate refusal to comply with the subpoena is a violation of federal law.”

“As stated in the Select Committee’s letter dated October 8, 2021 … the former President has not communicated any such claim of privilege, either formally or informally, to the Select Committee. Further, We believe that any claim of privilege – should it be made by the former President – will not prevent the Select Committee from obtaining the information legally sought,” the letter said.

And even if the committee “was inclined to accept the unsupported grounds” that executive privilege extends to communications between Bannon and Trump, the letter notes that Bannon “was willing to submit documents in response to Congressional summons.” does not enjoy any form of absolute immunity from testifying or producing.”

Granthshala has reached out to Bannon’s attorney for comment. The letter was first reported by Washington Post.

Costello also wrote to the committee that night, when Bannon was scheduled to appear for a private statement, claiming that the committee’s charge of disobedience to his client was “unfair.”

Costello said Bannon was not ignoring the committee’s request, but was following Trump’s instructions to protect executive privilege in his efforts. Costello also wrote that Bannon would not cooperate with the committee until an agreement was reached between the committee and Trump regarding his claims of privilege.

“Unless you reach an agreement with President Trump or obtain a court decision as to the extent, scope and applications of executive privileges to preserve your claim to executive and other privileges, Mr. Will not produce. or is testifying,” the letter read.

What is executive privilege?  Does a former president still get it?

A day later, the committee officially announced its decision to proceed with criminal contempt for Bannon — an effort that begins with Tuesday’s business meeting and vote.

In a letter obtained Monday by Granthshala, the White House presidential deputy counsel, Jonathan Su, told Costello that the Biden administration would not support any attempt by Bannon to refuse to cooperate with the committee on grounds of executive privilege. .

Su informs Costello that Biden has determined that Bannon’s interactions with anyone in the White House after leaving the Trump administration are fair game for the committee to investigate.

“As you know, Mr. Bannon’s term as a White House employee ended in 2017,” Su writes. “To the extent that any privilege may apply to Mr. Bannon on his interactions with former Presidents or White House staff after the conclusion of his term, President Biden has already determined that the claim of executive privilege is in the public interest. is not, and therefore not justified in respect of certain matters within the scope of the Select Committee.”

This story and title have been updated with additional developments from Tuesday.

Granthshala’s Katelyn Polantz contributed to this report.


Credit : www.cnn.com

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