October 22, 2021

The U.S. House of Representatives voted Thursday to hold Steve Bannon, the former top political advisor to President Donald Trump, in criminal contempt over his refusal to submit to a subpoena issued by the congressional panel investigating the MAGA insurrection that took place on January 6, 2021.

The final vote was 229 to 202, with just 9 Republicans joining with nearly every Democrat in favor of the resolution to recommend the Justice Department for prosecution. See the full roll call here.

According to the Associated Press:

The House vote sends the matter to the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, where it will now be up to prosecutors in that office to decide whether to present the case to a grand jury for possible criminal charges. 

The partisan split over Bannon’s subpoena—and over the committee’s investigation in general—is emblematic of the raw tensions that still grip Congress nine months after the Capitol attack. Democrats have vowed to comprehensively probe the assault in which hundreds of Trump’s supporters battered their way past police, injured dozens of officers and interrupted the electoral count certifying President Joe Biden’s victory.

Responding to the vote, Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause, said that while the approval by the House will "ensure we learn the truth about the events of that bloody attempt to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 election," it was shameful that only nine members of the Republican caucus voted in favor to uphold the committee's subpoena authority.

"It is disgraceful how few Republicans voted to enforce congressional subpoena power and hold Steve Bannon in contempt for refusing to comply with subpoenas about his role in, and knowledge of, the bloody attempt to topple our government," said Hobert Flynn.

"This is not a partisan issue," she continued. "This is an investigation of a day when a racist, armed, and angry mob stormed the United States Capitol and set about searching the halls for Members of Congress. That insurrectionist mob left dead and wounded in their wake, yet House Republicans today voted against getting to the truth behind that terrible day."

Ahead of the vote, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a member of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, argued that Bannon's refusal to submit to the subpoena was no trivial deal.

Asked Thursday how the DOJ would handle such a referral, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee that it would "do what it always does in such circumstances—it will apply the facts and the law."

Calling it a sad event, Hobert Flynn said the vote "reveals just how far the Republican Party has fallen" since Trump took over as the de facto leader of the party.

"Congressional Republicans proved again," she said, "that they would rather parrot the baseless lies about the 2020 election by former-President Trump than risk incurring his wrath—regardless of the damage."

Republished from Common Dreams (Jon Queally, staff writer) under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

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