A US congressional committee investigating the Capitol riots has voted to recommend criminal Prosecution against Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon after he refused to testify regarding their inquiry into the January 6 insurrection. On Monday, a US House of Representatives committee approved the contempt of Congress report unanimously, sending it to the Democratic-controlled House, which is expected to approve going to court on Thursday to punish Bannon for his non-compliance.
The matter would then be referred to the justice department, which has the final say on whether to bring charges. Bannon could face a fine and a year in prison if convicted. In order to get a complete account of the violence of January 6th and its causes, Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the select committee, said, ‘it is essential that we receive Mr. Bannon’s factual and complete testimony. Bannon will comply with our investigation or he will face the consequences. We cannot allow anyone to stand in the way of the select committee as we work to get to the facts. The stakes are too high,’ he said.
Experts say this process is rarely invoked and rarely results in jail time. The House’s pursuit of criminal charges may, however, be more about making an example of Bannon and sending a message to potential witnesses. Former US president Trump urged his aides to reject the House committee’s request for information, citing executive privilege, a legal provision that protects some White House communications. Trying to prevent the House inquiry from obtaining documents from the US National Archives, he filed a lawsuit on Monday.
According to Joe Biden’s administration, Trump does not have a legitimate privilege claim. The committee had requested that the National Archives, which is the custodian of the Trump White House’s records, submit a list of documents from the former president’s tenure as president and the aftermath of the Capitol riot. In its ongoing and intensifying investigation, the panel asks for more information about how Trump supporters tried to stop a joint congressional session from certifying the 2020 presidential election result on January 6.