Trump ally Steve Bannon’s game of chicken with the House committee investigating the January 6 Capitol Hill riot is on the cusp of entering a new and critical phase Thursday as he faces his last chance to reverse course and comply with the panel’s subpoena before lawmakers likely move to seek criminal charges.
Bannon’s lawyer on Wednesday wrote a letter to the panel saying that his client will not provide testimony or documents until the committee reaches an agreement with former President Donald Trump over executive privilege or a court weighs in on the matter. “That is an issue between the committee and President Trump’s counsel and Mr. Bannon is not required to respond at this time,” attorney Robert Costello wrote.
The letter doubled down on previous instances in which the former White House adviser made clear he has no intention of appearing for a deposition Thursday as ordered by the committee and essentially dared lawmakers to sue or hold him in criminal contempt earlier this month in response to the subpoena.
If Bannon is a no-show, the committee is expected to immediately begin seeking a referral for criminal contempt after the subpoena deadline passes — essentially making an example of Bannon’s noncompliance as the House seeks more witnesses, sources familiar with the planning told CNN.
I don’t necessarily hold out a lot of hope for a criminal contempt prosecution.
The problem here is that congressional Democrats and Joe Biden don’t seem to really care about holding Trump accountable and making sure no coup happens in 2024. If they did, they would start making amendments to the Electoral Count Act, and would greatly streamline appellate review of enforcement of subpoenas. They could set an extraordinarily expedited timetable for such challenges, to be heard within weeks, not months or years.
And they could set special rules for challenges to subpoenas in case of impeachment. As to the case of subpoenas for impeachments — and this is a proposal off the top of my head, so if there’s something I have not thought through, please tell me — they could require that any such challenge be heard by the Supreme Court within a week. Or, they could simply deny any access to the federal courts for challenges in the case of impeachment. That would leave the matter squarely for the Chief Justice in his role presiding over the trial.
And they could pass legislation providing for adequate facilities and personnel to enforce subpoenas themselves, by having people arrested for disobedience, just like every trial court judge in the nation.
Instead, they’re futzing around with a radical left Big Spending Agenda and Big Racial Pandering Agenda like everything is normal and will stay that way. Meanwhile, preparations for a 2024 coup are not ending.