Republican leadership instructs members to vote ‘no’ on criminal contempt charge for Steve Bannon

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Donald Trump and Steve Bannon

US President Donald Trump congratulates Senior Counselor to the President Stephen Bannon during the swearing in of senior staff in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on January 22, 2017. Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

  • Steve Bannon is refusing to comply with the investigation into the January 6 insurrection.

  • A day before the riot, he predicted that “all hell will break loose.”

  • Donald Trump sued to prevent documents from his White House being shared with the committee.

Republican leadership is instructing GOP members of Congress to vote against a resolution holding Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress over his refusal to testify before the special committee investigating the January 6 insurrection.

On Tuesday night, the special committee held a unanimous, bipartisan vote to recommend that Bannon be punished for failing to comply with its subpoena. The full House of Representatives is expected to vote Thursday, though it is ultimately up to the Department of Justice whether or not prosecute Bannon.

Rep. Liz Cheney, a Republican from Wyoming, said his refusal – and claim to be covered by “executive privilege” – indicated that he had helped plan the insurrection with former President Donald Trump. The ex-president has himself sued to prevent documents from his White House being shared with the committee.

In a memo sent to each House Republican, however, House Minority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana claimed the special committee’s investigation was invalid, arguing it lacked a legislative purpose.

“Congress does not have enumerated constitutional powers to conduct investigations or issue subpoenas outside of that scope,” he asserted.

Legal experts, however, say Congress has broad authority to investigate under the US Constitution, particularly when it comes to the actions of past and present government officials. Bannon – who predicted a day before the insurrection that “all hell is going to break loose” – previously served as chief strategist at the White House under Trump.

The January 6 special committee is also considering whether new laws may be needed to prevent future attempts to subvert US elections.

Scalise himself voted on January 6 to block President Joe Biden’s victory, challenging the certification of votes from Pennsylvania, despite state and federal court rulings upholding the legitimacy of results there. He has since refused to concede that Trump was defeated in a legitimate election.

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Read the original article on Business Insider

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