Bannon’s lawyer on Wednesday wrote a letter to the panel saying that his consumer is not going to present testimony or paperwork till the committee reaches an settlement with former President Donald Trump over government privilege or a court docket 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 said 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.
Source 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 workers Mark Meadows and former administration official Kash Patel, have been “engaging” with the committee, in response to the panel, although it stays unclear if that contact quantities to any type of cooperation.
As as to if 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 thus far and lawmakers took the chance forward of Thursday’s deadline to reiterate that he’s obligated to take action.
“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 group goes on to say it might be as much as the courts to resolve whether or not he’s finally pressured to cooperate — basically daring the House to sue or maintain him in legal 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 could possibly be lined by the previous President’s privilege is uncommon, as a result of Bannon was not working for the federal authorities through the interval surrounding the January 6 riot.
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 dam a subpoena by claiming government privilege.
Historic legal contempt instances
As extreme as a legal contempt referral sounds, the House’s selection to make use of the Justice Department could also be extra of a warning shot than an answer. Holding Bannon in legal contempt by means of a prosecution might take years, and historic legal contempt instances have been derailed by appeals and acquittals.
“They’re in a box, in a way,” Stanley Brand, a former House common 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 common counsel throughout Lavelle’s contempt proceedings, informed Source. “There’s a trial. It’s not automatic they’re going to get convicted.”
The legal contempt strategy is also structured to be extra of a punishment than an try and compel a witness to talk.
“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 basically loses management of the case because 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.”
Source’s Christie Johnson contributed to this report.