The House of Representatives, which is currently controlled by a Democrat majority, continues investigating the events of January 6 through a special committee. Over the course of the investigation, the committee subpoenaed Bannon, though Bannon refused to testify.
Now, the committee has apparently decided to refer Stephen K. Bannon for criminal contempt prosecution after his refusal.
Bannon had served as the CEO of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, and he had also worked as a senior aide in the White House until August 2017. It remains unclear what role, if any, Bannon had with the events of January 6, which occurred more than 3.5 years after he left the White House.
This week, several Democrats informed CNN that Bannon, Kash Patel, a former national security aide, and other Trump associates had attracted the attention of the committee since they presumably had information regarding “exactly what the president was doing” during the January 6 riot on Capitol Hill.
However, these aides have not been linked to the riot in any of the other hundreds of federal investigations that have ensued against the rioters.
In addition, Schiff, along with other Democrats, have long targeted both Patel and Bannon, especially since Patel contributing to blowing the whistle on the “unmasking” performed by the Obama administration. This “unmasking” was linked to targeting Trump appointees in both 2016 and 2017. Furthermore, Schiff had also pursued Patel during the first impeachment investigation of Trump, despite having no clear justification to do so.
Schiff informed Wolf Blitzer that Bannon, along with other Trump associates, may “go to jail” for choosing to defy the subpoenas. However, these aides remark that they will not be compelled to testify about any communications that took place with Trump, given the presidential right to executive privilege.
A precedent does exist for presidents to exert such a privilege, though the limits of that exact privilege are disputed and typically need to be settled in court.
The January 6 committee is run by Democrats, along with two anti-Trump Republicans: Adam Kinzinger (IL) and Liz Cheney (WY).