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Upton: When witnesses ignore subpoenas, ‘you don’t really have an equal branch of government’

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) is seen prior to a press conference on Friday, July 30, 2021 to discuss the bipartisan infrastructure deal with members of the Problem Solvers Caucus.
Greg Nash

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) on Sunday discussed the risks of witnesses defying subpoenas from congressional investigators, saying that it illustrates that “you don’t really have an equal branch of government.”

“I’m a former committee chair, I used the subpoena. Even the threat of subpoena was able to get people to come testify, to tell, to give us the facts, so we can go after fraud and abuse. If you refuse to participate in that, all of a sudden you don’t really have an equal branch of government trying to get to the answers of this,” Upton told co-host Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

The Republican lawmaker’s comments came in response to a question from Tapper on if he would be willing to vote to hold former-Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in criminal contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the House select committee probing the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

Meadows failed to appear for a deposition with the investigative panel on Friday, putting him at risk of a charge of criminal contempt from the panel.

Upton was one of nine House Republicans to vote to hold ex-Trump White House strategist Steve Bannon in criminal contempt last month for failing to comply with the congressional subpoena.

On Friday, a federal grand jury indicted Bannon.

Upton said on Sunday he voted to support moving forward with criminal contempt for Bannon because the former Trump adviser “didn’t cooperate at all.” When asked if he would consider doing the same for Meadows, the lawmaker said he would wait to see what panel investigating Jan. 6 does.

“I want to see what the select committee will do, see what the recommendation is, and then take it from there,” he said.

Tags Fred Upton Jake Tapper Mark Meadows Steve Bannon
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