US insurrection investigators to vote on holding Trump ally Steve Bannon in contempt

Congressional committee probing the January 6 riot will vote on bringing criminal contempt charges against Mr Bannon after he defies subpoena

Donald Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon speaking with reporters in New York last year. AP
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A House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol is set to vote next week to hold Steve Bannon, a top adviser to former president Donald Trump, in contempt of Congress for not co-operating in the probe.

Mr Bannon, who served as the former president’s chief political strategist and helped run his 2016 campaign, has refused to co-operate with the committee’s subpoena, per Mr Trump's request.

Democratic Congressman Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the committee, blasted Mr Bannon for “hiding behind the former president’s insufficient, blanket, and vague statements regarding privileges he has purported to invoke.”

Mr Bannon was scheduled for a deposition on Thursday but failed to appear.

The panel, which includes seven Democrats and two Republicans, will vote to hold Mr Bannon in contempt on October 19.

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

Also subpoenaed to provide a deposition on Thursday is former Defence Department official Kashyap Patel. But unlike Mr Bannon, Mr Patel is engaging with the committee, according to panel officials, despite also being urged by the Trump legal team not to do so.

His deposition is being delayed as those talks continue.

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and former deputy chief of staff for communications Dan Scavino were also issued subpoenas to appear on Friday.

It remained unclear on Thursday if they will do so.

As explained by the committee, a person who refuses to provide testimony or documents subpoenaed by Congress, including committees of the House, is potentially liable for contempt of Congress. That is a crime that may result in a fine and between one and 12 months’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $100,000.

The decision to refer such a charge to the Justice Department would go before the full House.

- With agencies

Updated: October 14, 2021, 7:02 PM