National Security

Jan. 6 panel denies Bannon attempt to delay criminal referral vote

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol has shot down a last-minute request from former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon to delay a scheduled vote to refer him for prosecution based on a lawsuit filed Monday by President Trump.

Trump’s suit seeks to block the committee from a sweeping trove of records sought from the National Archives, claiming the move violates executive privilege. President Biden earlier this month waived his executive privilege claims to the documents.

A letter from Bannon’s attorney asks for a weeklong delay “so that we might thoughtfully assess the impact of this pending legislation.”

Even before Trump formally filed the suit, Bannon had said he would not comply with the committee’s subpoena until the former president’s executive privilege case was addressed by the courts.

Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) denied the request, calling the committee’s work “extremely important and urgent for the nation.”

“Further delay in compliance by Mr. Bannon undermines the ability of the committee to timely complete its essential responsibilities,” he continued.

Documents released by the committee also include a White House letter to Bannon arguing that Biden as the sitting president has the right to make executive privilege claims. 

“As you are aware, Mr. Bannon’s tenure as a White House employee ended in 2017,” deputy counsel Jonathan Su wrote.

“To the extent any privileges could apply to Mr. Bannon’s conversations with the former president or White House staff after the conclusion of his tenure, President Biden has already determined that an assertion of executive privilege is not in the public interest and therefor not justified.”

The committee will vote Tuesday night on whether to refer Bannon to the Department of Justice for criminal charges, facing the possibility of a fine, jail time or both. The matter will then be forwarded for a full House vote. 

Tags Bennie Thompson Capitol breach Capitol insurrection Capitol riot Donald Trump Executive privilege Jan. 6 Insurrection Jan. 6 select committee Joe Biden Steve Bannon
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