Friday 22 October 2021
no testimony for u committee
US Congress wants to sue Bannon
What did Steve Bannon know about the potential preparedness for the Capitol Hurricane? The ultra-conservative former Trump strategist is supposed to testify on the committee to investigate the attack, but he does not appear. Now the MPs have to decide whether it has any consequences or not.
The US House of Representatives has paved the way for criminal action against right-wing populist Steve Bannon for defying Congress. The background is a re-enactment of the January 6 attack on the US Capitol. The Chamber of Parliament voted on Thursday to refer the case to the prosecutor. Now it is for the Ministry of Justice to decide whether to initiate criminal proceedings or not.
Bannon failed to comply with a subpoena from the Capital Investigation Committee. In the Democrat-dominated House of Representatives, 229 lawmakers have now voted in favor of bringing Bannon to court – 202 voted against. The vote largely went along party lines. Some Republicans joined in and voted for President Joe Biden’s Democrat. On Tuesday, the investigative committee to probe the attack unanimously accepted a report that found Bannon’s disregard for Congress. This was the first obstacle to bringing Bannon to justice.
Even before it began its work, the committee had been the scene of a political battle between Democrats and Republicans. Bannon made a defiance of a summons before the committee last week. Supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the US Congressional seat in Washington on January 6. Five people, including a policeman, died. Bannon is suspected of having prior knowledge of plans for violent protests. He said in his podcast the day before the Capitol storm: “Tomorrow all hell breaks loose.”
“He knew what was going to happen”
Republican lawmaker Liz Cheney said before the vote, “He knew what was going to happen before it happened.” You and Republican Congressman Adam Kissinger are the only Republican members of the committee. Both are outspoken critics of Trump and are therefore not in favor of Republicans. “There are people in this room who were evicted that day, during this attack, along with me and the rest. Those who have now forgotten the danger of the moment,” Cheney said. Bannon has no right to defy the summons.
Bannon, a former Trump strategist, invokes the presidency’s prerogative to withhold certain information from Congress or the courts – the so-called executive privilege. Trump’s lawyer had turned to Bannon and other subpoenas a few weeks ago and invoked executive privilege. Bannon’s lawyer then insisted that he would not circulate any documents or make any statements until the open questions were clarified.
“He’s a bogeyman for the Democratic Party,” complained Republican Jim Banks. Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi turned down Banks as a member of the committee. He is considered a strong supporter of Trump. “The Special Committee despises Steve Bannon’s policies. That’s why they are abusing their power to put him in jail,” he said. Bannon is one of the most influential voices in the ultra-conservative camp of American politics. He is the co-founder of the Internet platform “Breitbart”.
According to observers, prosecuting Bannon for defying Congress is unlikely to have dire consequences. It is true that there is a risk of imprisonment and fines – but such a process can take years and lead to nothing but an appeal or an acquittal. “We (…) will make a decision that is consistent with the principles of law enforcement,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said before voting on his procedure in the case.
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