Thursday 27 June 2024

House To ‘Withdraw’ January 6 Committee Arguments In Bannon Case

 The House will submit a filing seeking to “withdraw” arguments from the January 6 Committee as part of the legal battle in which Steve Bannon, a close ally to former President Donald Trump, is fighting to stay out of prison, GOP leaders said on Wednesday.

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA), and Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN) revealed their game plan in a statement after a vote of the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group — which POLITICO reported came down along party lines.

“The Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group voted 3-2 to file a brief with the D.C. Circuit in the case against Steve Bannon,” the group said. “The amicus brief will be submitted after Bannon files a petition for rehearing en banc and will be in support of neither party.”

They said the brief will “withdraw certain arguments made by the House earlier in the litigation about the organization of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol during the prior Congress” when Democrats led the House.

“House Republican Leadership continues to believe” that former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) “abused her authority when organizing the Select Committee,” Johnson, Scalise, and Emmer added in concluding their statement.

Democrats rejected two picks by then-Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to be GOP members on the panel, after which he withdrew all his recommendations and Pelosi picked Trump critics Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) to join instead.

A jury convicted Bannon, a former Trump aide, on two counts of contempt of Congress in 2022 for not complying with a subpoena from the committee that rejected a claim of executive privilege. He was later given a sentence of four months of incarceration.

Earlier this month, a federal judge ordered Bannon to report to prison on July 1, which is Monday. Bannon asked the Supreme Court to allow him to remain free while fighting the contempt sentence after a federal appeals court panel denied his request.

Bannon told Axios in a text message, responding to plans for the House filing a brief in his case, “Speaker Johnson and House leadership showed tremendous courage in repudiating the illegally constituted J6 Committee and its activities/investigations.”

Three other ex-White House officials who refused to cooperate with subpoenas — Peter Navarro, Dan Scavino, and Mark Meadows — were found to be in contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate with subpoenas from the January 6 Committee.

The Department of Justice declined to prosecute Scavino and Meadows, but did open up cases and secure convictions against the others. Navarro, who served as a White House trade adviser, has already begun serving a four-month prison sentence.

Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA), chairman of the House Administration Subcommittee on Oversight, has already filed a brief with the Supreme Court, claiming steps taken by the January 6 Committee against Bannon were “factually and procedurally invalid.”


A group of more than two dozen House Republicans have also put forward a resolution that aims to rescind January 6 Committee subpoenas against Trump’s associates and withdraw recommendations that they be held in contempt of Congress.

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), chairman of the now-defunct January 6 Committee, told Fox News the resolution “will have no impact” and the subpoenas “were litigated exhaustively, with contempt of Congress charges going as high as the Supreme Court.”

The GOP-led House voted earlier this month to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress because he refused to comply with subpoenas for audio from an investigation into President Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents.

Johnson vowed to go to court after the Department of Justice refused to prosecute Garland because the president asserted executive privilege over the tapes. Some are pushing to empower the House sergeant-at-arms to detain Garland until he complies.

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