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U.S. riot panel votes to hold Trump ally Bannon in criminal contempt

Steve Bannon.   | Photo Credit: AFP

Lawmakers investigating the deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol voted unanimously on Tuesday to pursue criminal contempt charges for a key ally of former President Donald Trump for refusing to testify. Former White House adviser Steve Bannon failed to comply with a subpoena to appear before the cross-party January 6 congressional select committee on Thursday last week.

Also Read: Capitol siege: Those who refuse to testify before probe panel should be prosecuted, says Biden

The right-wing political adviser had told the panel he would be withholding testimony and documents until Mr. Trump’s claim of “executive privilege”, which allows Presidents to keep certain conversations with aides secret, had been resolved.

But the nine-member committee said Mr. Bannon’s position was not a lawful basis to ignore the order and voted unanimously to adopt a report setting out the case against him. “Mr. Bannon has no legal right to ignore the committee’s lawful subpoena,” Representative Liz Cheney, vice-chair of the committee and one of only two Republican members, said on Tuesday.

Watch: In pictures: Chaos, violence, mockery as pro-Trump mob occupies U.S. Capitol

Experts believe Mr. Trump’s claims that he is entitled to block Mr. Bannon giving evidence to investigators are likely baseless, since the presidential “executive privilege” carve-out is not generally understood to apply to former occupants of the White House. Furthermore, Mr. Bannon wasn’t even serving in government at the time covered by the subpoena.

The move paves the way for the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives to vote to refer the 67-year-old former strategist to the Justice Department to consider charges.


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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 12:09:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/us-riot-panel-votes-to-hold-trump-ally-bannon-in-criminal-contempt/article37097908.ece

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