The Oklahoman

Jan. 6 panel sets vote on charges against Bannon

- Mary Clare Jalonick, Eric Tucker, Jill Colvin and Michelle R. Smith

WASHINGTON – A congressio­nal committee investigat­ing the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrecti­on has set a vote to recommend criminal contempt charges against former White House aide Steve Bannon after he defied the panel's subpoena on Thursday.

The chairman of the panel, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said the committee will vote next Tuesday to recommend the charges. That would send the recommenda­tion to the full House for a vote.

If the House votes to pursue the contempt charges against Bannon, the Justice Department will ultimately decide whether to prosecute. The committee had demanded documents and testimony from Bannon, who was in touch with President Donald Trump ahead of the violent attack.

“The Select Committee will not tolerate defiance of our subpoenas, so we must move forward with proceeding­s to refer Mr. Bannon for criminal contempt,” Thompson said in a statement.

The committee had scheduled a Thursday deposition with Bannon, but his lawyer said that at Trump's direction he wouldn't appear. Bannon also failed to provide documents to the panel by a deadline last week.

A deposition for a second witness that had been scheduled for Thursday, former Defense Department official Kashyap Patel, has been delayed, but Patel is still engaging with the committee, a committee aide said.

Two other men who worked for Trump – former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and longtime Trump social media director Dan Scavino – were scheduled for deposition­s Friday, but they have both been pushed back as well, according to the aide. Meadows, like Patel, has been given a “short postponeme­nt” as he is in talks with the panel. Scavino's deposition has been reschedule­d because there were delays in serving his subpoena.

Bannon's testimony is just one facet of an escalating congressio­nal inquiry, with 19 subpoenas issued so far and thousands of pages of documents flowing in.

But his defiance is a crucial developmen­t for the committee, whose members are vowing to restore the binding force of congressio­nal subpoenas after they were routinely flouted during Trump's time in office.

“Mr. Bannon has declined to cooperate with the Select Committee and is instead hiding behind the former President's insufficient, blanket and vague statements regarding privileges he has purported to invoke," Rep. Thompson said in his statement. “We reject his position entirely.”

Other witnesses are cooperatin­g, including some who organized or staffed the Trump rally on the Ellipse behind the White House that preceded the violent riot. The committee subpoenaed 11 rally organizers and gave them a Wednesday deadline to turn over documents and records. They have also been asked to appear at scheduled deposition­s.

Among those responding was Lyndon Brentnall, whose firm was hired to provide Ellipse event security that day. “All the documents and communicat­ions requested by the subpoena were handed in,” he told The Associated Press.

 ?? STEVE HELBER/AP ?? Former White House aide Steve Bannon could face contempt charges after he defied the Jan. 6 panel’s subpoena on Thursday.
STEVE HELBER/AP Former White House aide Steve Bannon could face contempt charges after he defied the Jan. 6 panel’s subpoena on Thursday.

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