Bannon’s lawyer on Wednesday wrote a letter to the panel saying that his shopper is not going to present testimony or paperwork till the committee reaches an settlement with former President Donald Trump over government privilege or a courtroom weighs in on the matter. “That is an issue between the committee and President Trump’s counsel and Mr. Bannon is not required to respond at this time,” lawyer Robert Costello wrote.
While it might take a while earlier than the House sends such a referral to the Department of Justice, the committee might take preliminary steps inside hours of the panel’s acknowledged deadline — which is Thursday — if Bannon refuses to cooperate, the sources added, underscoring the rising sense of urgency across the investigation itself.
“The reason why some of these witnesses, people like Steve Bannon, who have been public about their contempt for Congress feel they can get away with it is for four years, they did,” committee member Rep. Adam Schiff informed MSNBC on Wednesday.
“He would never be prosecuted by the Trump Justice Department. But those days are over. And I view that not only as essential to our investigation but I also view this, the enforcement of the rule of law, as an early test of whether our democracy is recovering,” the California Democrat added.
NCS authorized analyst Norm Eisen swiftly pushed again on Costello’s letter Wednesday, saying, “It’s just wrong. The letter quotes a case saying ‘the President’ can make executive privilege determinations. But Trump is no longer ‘the President.’ In the United States, we only have one of those at a time, he is Joe Biden, and he has not asserted privilege here.”
Three different Trump allies additionally face subpoena deadlines this week. Two of them, Trump’s former chief of employees Mark Meadows and former administration official Kash Patel, have been “engaging” with the committee, in accordance to the panel, although it stays unclear if that contact quantities to any type of cooperation.
As to whether or not Meadows and Patel will seem earlier than the panel for his or her depositions later this week, committee member Rep. Stephanie Murphy, a Florida Democrat, mentioned, “My expectation is that they will do the patriotic thing and appear before the committee, and if they don’t have anything to hide, there’s no reason why they won’t show up.”
‘Looking ahead to Steve Bannon’s deposition’
Bannon has not been cooperating to this point and lawmakers took the chance forward of Thursday’s deadline to reiterate that he’s obligated to achieve this.
“Looking forward to Steve Bannon’s deposition tomorrow and receiving all the testimony and evidence we subpoenaed,” choose committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat, mentioned Wednesday in a tweet. “This is a legal order as well as a civic duty to share info about the most sweeping violent attack on Congress since the War of 1812.”
In a letter to the committee earlier this month, Bannon’s lawyer argued that “the executive privileges belong to President Trump” and “we must accept his direction and honor his invocation of executive privilege.”
The letter from Bannon’s authorized staff goes on to say it might be up to the courts to determine whether or not he’s in the end compelled to cooperate — primarily daring the House to sue or maintain him in criminal contempt.
“As such, until these issues are resolved, we are unable to respond to your request for documents and testimony,” wrote the lawyer, Robert Costello.
The declare that Bannon might be lined by the previous President’s privilege is uncommon, as a result of Bannon was not working for the federal authorities in the course of the interval surrounding the January 6 rebellion.
Privilege claims usually apply to shut officers across the President and deliberations between authorities staff, and Bannon was fired from his position as a White House adviser in 2017.
Many authorized consultants agree with the committee that Bannon, as a non-public citizen, would haven’t any standing to block a subpoena by claiming government privilege.
Historic criminal contempt instances
As extreme as a criminal contempt referral sounds, the House’s alternative to use the Justice Department could also be extra of a warning shot than an answer. Holding Bannon in criminal contempt via a prosecution might take years, and historic criminal contempt instances have been derailed by appeals and acquittals.
“They’re in a box, in a way,” Stanley Brand, a former House basic counsel, mentioned on Wednesday. “Any way they go is a legal donnybrook, potentially that will take time.”
“I’m watching people on TV bloviate about this. They’re going to send [Bannon] to criminal contempt. OK. Fine. That just starts the case,” Brand, who was the House basic counsel throughout Lavelle’s contempt proceedings, informed NCS. “There’s a trial. It’s not automatic they’re going to get convicted.”
The criminal contempt strategy is also structured to be extra of a punishment than an try to compel a witness to converse.
“It’s not like civil contempt, where you hold the keys to your jail cell and get released” if a witness agrees to testify, Brand mentioned.
Instead, the House primarily loses management of the case as the Justice Department takes over to prosecute.
“They don’t have any time,” Brand added. “They’ve got to get this done before next year, before there’s an election.”
NCS’s Christie Johnson contributed to this report.