Nine House Republicans voted with all Democrats on Thursday to adopt a resolution holding former Trump White House strategist Stephen Bannon in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
The nine Republicans who broke with their party were Reps. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyJan. 6 panel faces new test as first witness pleads the Fifth Prosecutors say North Carolina woman deserves prison for bringing 14-year-old to Capitol riot Rules committee mulls contempt vote for Trump DOJ official MORE (Wyo.), Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickBottom line Lawmakers who bucked their parties on the T infrastructure bill Framing our future beyond the climate crisis MORE (Pa.), Anthony GonzalezAnthony GonzalezPowell, Yellen say they underestimated inflation and supply snarls Texas Democrat Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson announces retirement at end of term The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Will Biden's big bill pass the House this week? MORE (Ohio), Jaime Herrera BeutlerJaime Lynn Herrera BeutlerAdams: Maternal health is in 'a crisis within a crisis' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden talks up bright side beneath omicron's cloud Overnight Health Care — Presented by March of Dimes — Supreme Court weighs abortion restrictions MORE (Wash.), John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoMcCarthy faces headaches from far-right House GOP Sunday shows preview: New COVID-19 variant emerges; supply chain issues and inflation persist Lawmakers increasingly anxious about US efforts against Russian hackers MORE (N.Y.), Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerGOP infighting takes stupid to a whole new level The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Congress avoids shutdown On The Money — Congress races to keep the lights on MORE (Ill.), Nancy MaceNancy MaceGOP infighting takes stupid to a whole new level McCarthy laments distractions from far-right members Democratic caucus chairs call for Boebert committee assignment removal MORE (S.C.), Peter MeijerPeter MeijerTrump endorses primary challenger to Peter Meijer in Michigan The 9 Republicans who voted to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress House votes to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress MORE (Mich.) and Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonOnly two Republicans expected to back censuring Gosar Jarring GOP divisions come back into spotlight Trump allies target Katko over infrastructure vote MORE (Mich.).
Cheney and Kinzinger are the two Republican members of the Jan. 6 select committee, and were the only Republicans who voted in favor of creating the panel back in June after an effort to establish a bipartisan independent commission stalled in the Senate.
All but two of the nine Republicans who backed holding Bannon in contempt also voted to impeach former President TrumpDonald TrumpHillicon Valley — State Dept. employees targets of spyware Ohio Republican Party meeting ends abruptly over anti-DeWine protesters Jan. 6 panel faces new test as first witness pleads the Fifth MORE after the Jan. 6 insurrection. Fitzpatrick and Mace, who both represent competitive districts, did not vote to impeach Trump for inciting the riot in January but have occasionally broken with their party on certain issues.
The nine defections on Thursday came despite House GOP leadership formally urging their rank-and-file to vote against the resolution that refers Bannon to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution.
A notice from House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseHouse sets up Senate shutdown showdown GOP beginning to jockey for post-election leadership slots The Memo: Omicron poses huge threat to Biden presidency MORE's (R-La.) office on Wednesday argues that the select committee "is more interested in pursuing a partisan agenda to politicize the January 6th attack rather than conducting a legitimate good faith investigation into the security failures leading up to and on that day."
Katko denied that he felt pressure from GOP leaders to vote against holding Bannon in contempt of Congress.
"I never feel pressure. I do what I think is right, no matter the consequences," Katko said after Thursday's vote.
The select committee is seeking testimony from Bannon about his role in organizing the "Stop the Steal" rally at the White House which preceded the violent mob of Trump's supporters that attacked the Capitol to try to stop Congress from ratifying the election results.
Bannon has refused to comply with the committee's subpoena and cited a case filed by Trump claiming executive privilege over documents from his time in the White House.
Cheney, the select committee's vice chair who was booted from GOP leadership earlier this year for refusing to back Trump's false election fraud claims, implored her fellow Republicans to back the investigation.
"My colleagues in the Republican Party, the Republican members of this body, have to understand, have to recognize that there's a moment when politics must stop if we want to defend and protect our institutions. A violent assault on the Capitol to stop a constitutional process of counting electoral votes is that moment," Cheney said during House floor debate on Thursday.
Kinzinger said the contempt resolution showed that "no one — and I repeat no one — is above the law."
"Steve BannonStephen (Steve) Kevin BannonJan. 6 panel faces new test as first witness pleads the Fifth Holding defiant Trump witnesses to account, Jan. 6 committee carries out Congress's constitutional role Rules committee mulls contempt vote for Trump DOJ official MORE went out of his way to earn this resolution before us and now we must approve it," Kinzinger said on the House floor.
The other Republicans who voted in favor of holding Bannon in contempt but didn't back creating the select committee and don't serve on it said the measure was justified to enforce congressional subpoena authority.
"Mr. Bannon refused to comply with a valid subpoena by a duly-formed committee, claiming broad exec privilege. There is no conceivable interpretation of exec privilege that applies to someone outside of gov’t, conferring with senior gov’t officials, on non-official matters," Meijer tweeted. "Holding individuals who refuse to comply with congressional subpoenas in contempt is the sole recourse available to Congress to protect its power of inquiry."
Mr. Bannon refused to comply with a valid subpoena by a duly-formed committee, claiming broad exec privilege. There is no conceivable interpretation of exec privilege that applies to someone outside of gov’t, conferring with senior gov’t officials, on non-official matters. (1/2)— Rep. Peter Meijer (@RepMeijer) October 21, 2021
Scott Wong contributed.