The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) decision to prosecute Stephen Bannon for defying a congressional subpoena could give the House committee investigating the Jan.6 attack on the Capitol as it seeks the necessary clout. arguing over interviews with uncooperative assistants of alumni President TrumpPennsylvania GOP-controlled Donald Trump Senate to spend up to 0K on election probe Trump congratulates Rittenhouse on acquittal.
Bannon, a former White House strategist, surrendered to law enforcement and pleaded not guilty this week after a federal grand jury charged him with two counts of contempt of Congress.
As Bannon vows to fight the case as a way to protect Trump’s assertion of executive privilege, the looming threat of two years in prison and up to $ 200,000 in fines could be convincing for some. number of former collaborators who have not yet seated for their depositions.
“The most important thing was that the Justice Department sued Bannon because I think it will have the most profound impact on people’s willingness to cooperate and obey the law, as the rule of law is to return and applies equally to everyone “, representing Adam schiffAdam Bennett Schiff Unconditional press promotes the book by Representative Adam Schiff based on Russian fiction. Stoltenberg Says Jan.6 Siege Was Sunday Attack on ‘NATO Core Values’ – Biden Officials Create Inflation Message MORE (D-Calif.), A committee member, told reporters Thursday.
“I think it certainly impacted the willingness of people to cooperate, the willingness of people to obey the law. I cannot detail this for you, ”he said, adding:“ There are certainly others who I think have been encouraged to cooperate seeing that the path of destruction can lead to destruction. jail.
The indictment surprised some who were unsure whether the DOJ would be willing to support a House investigation so focused on Trump’s circle as part of an effort to reaffirm his independence.
But it means potential problems for the former White House chief of staff Marc des meadowsMark Meadows: After a year of gross ethics violations, Congress must reform corruption laws, who is the committee’s latest target after his failure to appear for a required deposition earlier this month after he was allegedly “engaged” with the committee since his first subpoena in September.
Others summoned to appear on the same day as Meadows, such as Trump’s communications guru Dan Scavino and former Defense Department Chief of Staff Kash Patel, have yet to sit for bear witness.
And the committee last week sent a wave of subpoenas to 10 other former White House aides and senior government officials.
Bannon’s case progresses as Trump’s challenge to the Biden administration’s disclosure of his presidential records to the committee quickly encountered a problem in court.
A Federal District Judge sided with the committee’s contention that much of the power to withhold documents and testimony from Congress rests with the sitting president, with Judge Tanya Chutkan writing of Trump that ” presidents are not kings and the plaintiff is not president. His decision to allow disclosure of the records has been blocked by a higher court while the case is on appeal.
Bannon has largely sought to portray himself as a martyr even as legal experts warn his case is barely certain given that he was not even a White House employee at the time in question, making more complex a claim of executive privilege.
“Not just the people of Trump and not just the Tories – every progressive, every liberal in this country who loves free speech and freedom should stand up for this matter. That’s why I’m here today: for everyone. I’ll never back down, “Bannon said earlier this week.
Yet even though Meadows’ attorney sent a letter this week saying his involvement would depend on legal disputes that must be “appropriately resolved by the courts,” Trump’s former chief of staff took a more conciliatory tone. in a rare television appearance on Monday.
“He exercised, and rightly so, his executive privilege. And it’s not for me to give it up. And so that puts me between a rock and a hard place, ”Meadows said of Trump.
“I want to make sure I refrain from commenting too much on the facts of the case. These are complex legal issues that I will let the lawyers resolve, hopefully in the spirit of accommodation, ”he added later.
The committee has yet to decide how to deal with Meadows, warning that his challenge “will force the select committee to consider pursuing contempt or other proceedings to enforce the summons.”
But Brad Moss, an expert on national security law, said much of the reaction from other former Trump aides could depend on how Meadows decides to proceed.
“Bannon’s indictment made it clear that the committee and the DOJ do not interfere with their willingness to prosecute those who brazenly defy subpoenas. The real threshold will be if a former government official who was still working for the government at the time, like Meadows, is charged with outright refusal to comply, ”he told The Hill by email.
“If the Department of Justice crosses this proverbial Rubicon, you might see a wave of lower-ranking officials who lack major fundraising capabilities seeking to cooperate rather than put themselves in danger,” he added.
This could include Jeffrey Clark, a former mid-level attorney at the Justice Department who the president has considered installing as attorney general as a way to have an ally to advance his efforts to untangle the results of the national election. Clark showed up for a deposition earlier this month, but was reportedly uncooperative and did not reappear that afternoon.
Like Meadows, he faces a possible criminal referral from the same department where he once worked, with the committee warning of “strong action to hold him accountable for fulfilling his obligation.”
The committee noted that many are cooperating with their investigators, who have now sat down with more than 200 witnesses and received nearly 25,000 documents.
“There may be people who want to go down the path of just being in absolute disregard of a subpoena and not participating, but I think the vast majority of them will understand that they have a legal obligation, they have a civic obligation to participate, “Rep. Jamie raskinJamin (Jamie) Ben Raskin Democrats in Maryland target only Republican in redistribution scheme GOP leader’s marathon speech forces House Democrats to vote (D-Md.), Who sits on the committee, told reporters this week.
“Most people continue to be very cooperative. Most people come and speak voluntarily with the committee or testify before the committee. And, you know, for us, this is no game.… We have already shown our seriousness in dismissing charges of criminal contempt in the case of Steve bannonStephen (Steve) Kevin Bannon Prosecutors, defense disagree on pace of Bannon contempt trial Bannon pleads not guilty to contempt charges The Hill’s Morning Report – Brought to you by ExxonMobil – House Democrats consider important vote on Biden PLUS measurement, and the Department of Justice is definitely back, ”he said.
“And the grand jury, they handed down an indictment. We therefore hope that this will send the message to everyone that no one will operate here with impunity and in defiance of the law, ”he added.