Oct. 21 (UPI) — The House voted Thursday to hold Steve Bannon, a former top adviser to former President Donald Trump, in criminal contempt for defying a subpoena to testify.
The chamber voted 229-202 in favor of the resolution, which will refer a criminal contempt charge to the Justice Department. Nine Republicans voted with Democrats — Reps. Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, Nancy Mace, Fred Upton, Peter Meijer, John Katko, Brian Fitzpatrick, Anthony Gonzalez and Jaime Herrera Beutler.
The Justice Department has full, independent authority to decide whether to enforce the prosecution.
“There isn’t a different set of rules for Mr. Bannon,” select committee Chairman Bennie Thompson said “He knows this. He knows there are consequences for outright defiance. And he’s chosen the path toward criminal contempt by taking this position.”
“Mr. Bannon’s own public statements make clear: he knew what was going to happen before it did … The American people deserve to know what he knew, and what he did,” added Cheney, who is ranking member of the select committee.
The vote comes two days after the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol also decided to hold Bannon in contempt.
Bannon ignored deadlines to produce documents related to his discussions wth Trump in the days before the violent insurrection in which radical Trump supporters stormed the Capitol as lawmakers were voting to certify Joe Biden’s election victory.
Trump previously instructed Bannon and other fellow aides — former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, former White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications Daniel Scavino and former Defense Department official Kashyap Patel — to defy subpoenas from the select committee, citing executive privilege.
According to subpoena documents, Bannon said on his radio show on Jan. 5 that “all hell is going to break loose tomorrow.” He also allegedly spoke with Trump on Dec. 30 and urged him to focus on Jan. 6.
Bannon’s attorney, Robert Costello, instructed him to ”invoke any immunities and privileges he may have from compelled testimony” about Jan. 6, including executive privilege, and said Bannon was “legally unable to comply,” relying on the instructions of Trump to not disclose privileged information, according to the House resolution.