WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives voted Thursday to hold former Trump adviser Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress.
Bannon served as White House chief strategy for Donald Trump’s first months in office. However, he ignored subpoenas issued by the House Select Committee regarding the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol, perpetrated by a pro Trump mob. The Select Committee voted unanimously Tuesday to hold Bannon in congressional contempt.
The full House voted 229-202 with all Democrats voting in favor, and most Republicans voting against.
House GOP leadership was urging members Wednesday to vote against the vote, but nine Republicans voted to hold Bannon in contempt. Reps. Liz Cheney, Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger from Illinois were both on the Jan. 6-committee.
Other Republicans included Michigan Reps. Fred Upton and Peter Meijer, Rep. John Katko of New York, Rep. Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina, and Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington.
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Many Republicans who voted yes on Thursday also voted in support of impeaching Trump in January because of his involvement in the attempted insurrection. Three Republicans who voted for Trump’s impeachment were against keeping Bannon in contempt: Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.), Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.) and Rep. David Valadao (R-Calif.
Mace and Fitzpatrick did not vote to impeach Trump.
Rep. Greg Pence, R-Ind., brother of former Vice President Mike Pence who was specifically targeted by rioters on Jan. 6, did not vote.
After the vote, Cheney told reporters outside the Capitol that the nine Republican votes reflect “the fact that this should not be a partisan issue and that people recognize that what happened on January 6 can’t go uninvestigated, and that when Congress issues a subpoena, you can’t simply fail to comply.”
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Now that the House has passed the contempt report recommended by the committee, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., will recommend it to the Justice Department, which has final say on whether to prosecute Bannon.
Although Attorney General Merrick Garland did not make a commitment to bring criminal charges against Bannon on Thursday, she testified before the House Judiciary Committee and promised to “apply facts and laws consistent with the principles for prosecution” in the event that the fate of the Trump advisor falls to the Justice Department.
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Bannon may face possible fines or jail time.
Lawmakers want to know about any communications Bannon had with Trump in the days leading up to the Jan. 6 riot, which occurred as lawmakers and Vice President Mike Pence gathered in a special session to formally count the Electoral College votes that established Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election.
Subpoena documents also note that on his radio show, Bannon said on Jan. 5 that “all hell is going to break loose tomorrow.”
Bannon was not a White House staffer on or before Jan. 6, having left the administration years earlier, but he is still claiming executive privilege from Trump as his reasoning of why he is not cooperating with the subpoenas from the committee.
Kevin Johnson Contributing
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