The US House of Representatives committee on the January 6 insurrection voted Thursday to hold Trump advisor Steve Bannon in contempt for defying a congressional subpoena.
Bannon, the former CEO of the Trump campaign, is under suspicion because of statements made on his “War Room” podcast on the days leading up to the Capitol riot that suggested he had specific knowledge of the planned attack. He alluded to the invasion, saying, “All hell is going to break loose tomorrow…so many people said, ‘Man, if I was in a revolution, I would be in Washington.’ Well, this is your time in history.”
He was also allegedly staying in the Willard Hotel with other rally organizers on the day of the event. The committee’s report also suggests that he was an integral part in perpetuating the “stop the steal” narrative, which incited the violence on January 6.
In response to the subpoena, Bannon invoked executive privilege to dodge the committee’s request for testimony and production of documents. The contempt recommendation concluded that even if executive privilege did apply to conversations between Bannon and Trump, “there is no conceivable executive privilege claim that could bar all of the Select Committee’s requests or justify Mr. Bannon’s flat refusal to appear for the required deposition.”
The committee will now send a referral to the Department of Justice, which will decide whether or not to prosecute Bannon for contempt. Attorney General Merrick Garland has not said whether he would move forward with the contempt charges, stating only that “The Department of Justice will do what it always does in such circumstances. It will apply the facts and the law and make a decision consistent with the principles of prosecution.”