The U.S. House of Representatives voted to approve a criminal contempt referral for Steve Bannon, the former Trump official, over his refusal of a subpoena issued by the Jan. 6 investigation committee.
The House vote was held Thursday with 229 votes in favor and 202 votes against. Nine Republicans crossed the aisle to vote with Democrats.
Bannon has refused to honor the subpoena based on a claim of executive privilege. He didn’t work for the Trump administration at the time of the Capitol riot, but he promoted the protests on his podcast and predicted there would be unrest.
Former President Donald Trump has sued in order to prevent documents from his administration to be sent to the committee. Trump asked President Joe Biden to extend executive privilege over the documents but he denied that request.
Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) responded that Bannon had a right to argue his case about executive privilege before a court, but added that he did not know if he had a claim to executive privilege or not.
Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois were among the Republicans who voted in favor of the resolution — both are on the Jan. 6 House select committee.
These nine Republicans voted ‘yes’ to hold Steve Bannon in contempt:
Reps. Liz Cheney (WY)
Adam Kinzinger (IL)
Jamie Herrera Beutler (WA)
Nancy Mace (SC)
Peter Meijer (MI)
Anthony Gonzalez (OH)
Fred Upton (MI)
John Katko (NY)
Brian Fitzpatrick (PA)
“People who now seem to have forgotten the danger of the moment, the assault on our Constitution, the assault on our Congress,” Cheney said in a speech on the floor ahead of the vote. “People who you will hear argue that there is simply no legislative purpose for this committee, for this investigation or for this subpoena.”
The matter goes to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland who has not yet tipped his hand as to whether the Department of Justice will pursue criminal charges.
“The Department of Justice will do what it always does,” said Garland Thursday, “apply the facts and the law and make a decision consistent with the principles of prosecution.”
Bannon faces a punishment of up to a year in prison and a maximum fine of $100,000 if found guilty of contempt of Congress, which is a federal misdemeanor charge.
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