What Happens Now Since Steve Bannon Was Referred to The Justice Department
Thursday the House voted 229–202 to hold Steve Bannon accountable to the subpoena that was issued to him by the January 6th select committee investigating the January 6th attack on the capitol.
From the vote 9 republicans broke away from their party to support the resolution. 7 out of the 9 of them voted to impeach former President Trump following the insurrection on January 6th.
Those 9 Republicans were Rep. Upton, Rep. Cheney, Rep. Fitzpatrick, Rep. Katko, Rep. Meijer, Rep. Gonzalez, Rep. Mace Rep. Kinzinger, and Rep. Herrera-Beutler. Rep. Pence, Brother of former Vice President Mike Pence, did not vote.
One of the republicans that voted in favor of the resolution was congresswoman Nancy Mace of South Carolina She spoke with reporters yesterday and explained her vote. “I want the power to subpoena when we start investigating some of the crises that are facing the Biden Administration right now. They were talking about the border or the botched exit of Afghanistan. There are a lot of things I am going to want to investigate when we are in the majority that we are not doing right now.”
The House select committee Chairmen Congressman Bennie Thompson led yesterday’s floor debate along with his Republican co-chair Rep. Liz Cheney that specifically called out the Minority leader Kevin McCarthy.
“My colleagues in the Republican party, my members of this body have to understand that there is a moment when congress politics must stop if we want to protect our institutions. a violent assault on the Capitol to stop a constitutional process of counting electoral votes is that moment. they all knew that on that day. In fact the Minority Leader [Keven McCarthy] himself stood in this chamber and said quote “the President bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by the rioters’ he should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.” Mr. McCarthy was right when he said that the President bears responsibility” Representative Liz Cheney said on the House floor Thursday.
This matter will now go to the Justice Department and they say they will apply the facts and the law when deciding whether to charge Steve Bannon with criminal contempt of congress.
There are some things the prosecutors are likely to consider First, the evidence is strong he is clearly refusing to comply with a congressional subpoena. When it comes to these matters there is a substantial federal interest in making sure people do comply. Bannon’s lawyer says he is refusing because Donald Trump is using executive privilege. Even though President Biden has waived that privilege and that undercuts Trump’s claim.
Second prosecutors will look at executive privilege and how it only applies to communications between the President’s official office duty.
Also Bannon wasn’t even in the government when the capitol attack happened prosecutors will have to examine that and how it applies. Currently there is lots of factors they need to look at in favor of the prosecution
On the other hand there are some factors they need to consider against Trump. A former president does have some power of executive privilege and of course that’s never been clarified what level of privilege former Presidents can claim.
Since at least 2007 the Justice Department has taken the position that the privilege even applies to Presidents conversations with people outside the executive branch.
In order to get a conviction it requires getting proof that someone acted with improper intent and some federal courts ruled a good faith reliance on counsel is a complete defense to a criminal attempt charge.
The Justice Department has prosecuted dozens of people for contempt of Congress but it has never done it involving a case of executive privilege.
When Attorney General Merrick Garland was testifying to Congress Thursday he was asked about this case. “The department recognizes the important oversight roll this committee of Representatives and Senate play with respect to the executive branch… The House of Representatives votes on the referral of contempt charges… the Department of Justice will do what it always does in such circumstances and apply facts and law to make a decision with the principles of prosecution.”
Essentially what you need to know is that the House sent it to the Department of Justice. The Justice Department is now going to investigate and depending on the results of this case it could set the future for future cases.