The Jan. 6 committee voted unanimously on Tuesday to recommend holding former Trump adviser Stephen Bannon in criminal contempt for defying a congressional subpoena.
The vote is likely to instigate a larger legal battle testing the extent of executive privileges claimed by President Trump and whether those protections apply to conversations or advice from private citizens, the Wall Street Journal reports.
“Mr. Bannon will comply with our investigation or he will face the consequences,” Rep. Bennie Thompson, the committee’s chairman, said. “If you’re thinking of following the path Mr. Bannon has gone down, you’re on notice that this is what you’ll face.”
The full House is expected to vote on certifying the contempt resolution on Thursday, referring the matter to the Justice Department for potential prosecution. The Justice Department hasn’t identified how it would act, but said in 2015 that it was open to bringing such prosecutions in some circumstances.
In the event of a House referral, the Justice Department will “evaluate the matter based on the facts and the law,” Bill Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, said.
As previously reported by Human Events News, the Bannon witch hunt came after he informed the panel he would not comply with the subpoena in accordance with direction from Trump, who told former aides and advisers they should not entertain the inquiry.
Under federal law, anyone summoned as a congressional witness who refuses to comply may face a misdemeanor charge with a fine of up to $100,000 and up to a year in jail.