The Jan. 6 House select committee voted unanimously on criminal contempt charges for Trump White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon for ignoring their subpoena. The House then certified their vote, requiring Attorney General Merrick Garland to “bring the matter before the grand jury for its action,” Any individual who is found liable for contempt of Congress is then guilty of a crime that may result in a fine and between one and 12 months imprisonment.”
OK, then, get started! The House select committee just issued 16 new subpoenasover two days to possible insurrection co-conspirators eager to follow in Bannon’s obstructionist footsteps, since he appears to be unfettered by any actions from Garland for now. Light a fire under this man!
Email Attorney General Merrick Garland
Sample script to Attorney General Merrick Garland:
Sir, the facts are clear. Bannon was duly subpoenaed by Congress and refused to appear. Both the Jan. 6 Select Committee and the House voted to charge him with criminal contempt. To deny putting him in jail right now is sending a message to the long list of subpeonaed high-level co-conspirators that they too can refuse to cooperate, hoping to stall justice until an election might allow them to walk free, unlike us mere mortals, who’d face a minimum of 6 months for similar charges.
What happened on Jan. 6 was an organized crime against democracy, and Bannon’s public statements indicate that he was a witness to the planning of it, and possibly an active co-conspirator. By delaying your decision, you risk harming the work of the Jan 6 Select Committee and interfering with a basic function of Congress.
The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol 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. (Chairman Bennie G. Thompson’s statement of cooperation of witness Steve Bannon here.)
He was fully aware of pending chaos on Jan. 6. He told listeners to his radio show on Jan. 5: “All hell is going to break loose tomorrow.” And again on the morning of Jan. 6 he warned: “Today’s not just a rally. At one o’clock that starts and there’s going to be some pretty controversial things going on.”
Bannon was no longer part of the White House staff since being fired in 2017 and therefore is in no way protected by “executive privilege.
By refusing to testify, Bannon’s breaking federal law. 18 U.S. Code Section 1505 state that whoever “influences, obstructs, or impedes or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede the due and proper administration of the law” by government departments, agencies, and committees is subject to a fine and five years in prison.
What happens after now?
“The committee’s report is then referred to the House for a vote. If the vote succeeds, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi certifies the report to the United States attorney for the District of Columbia. Under law, this certification then requires the United States attorney to “bring the matter before the grand jury for its action,” but the Justice Department will also makes its own determinations for prosecuting. Any individual who is found liable for contempt of Congress is then guilty of a crime that may result in a fine and between one and 12 months imprisonment.”
(The Hill) “This vote has made it official. Donald Trump’s big lie has now fully enveloped the Republican Party. Trump’s big lie is now the defining principle of what was once the party of Lincoln.” – Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer
(The Hill) “Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans’ denial of the truth of the January 6th insurrection brings shame to the Senate. Republicans’ cowardice in rejecting the truth of that dark day makes our Capitol and our country less safe.” – House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi
Action #1 – Tell your legislator we need a House select committee.
This can be created quickly by majority vote. Members and staff would need to be recruited, but they are already on hand in Congress. According to Just Security, a select committee could also be given subpoena power comparable to other House committees. But most importantly, “..congressional committees have special access privileges to Trump administration documents, including White House documents, that have been sent to the National Archives. Under the Presidential Records Act (PRA), most Trump White House documents are effectively under seal for several years. But Congress can break that seal right away based on a low showing of need. What happened in the White House during the insurrection remains one of the biggest gaps in our understanding.”
Minimal script: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want Rep. [___] to encourage Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi to create a House Select Committee to investigate the Jan. 6th insurrection.
How would history treat legislators if they had blocked the 9/11 Commission or the Warren Commission looking into President John F. Kennedy’s assassination? The first question would be: What are they trying to hide? The next would be: How could someone who has taken an oath not put the Constitution above partisan defensiveness? Republicans, it seems, no longer care that they look like pawns or that they have violated their oaths. Americans must keep this in mind in 2022, 2024 and beyond.
Call out your senators to do their job. Our Constitution requires them to hold an impeachment trial.
(Header quote here.) What the GOP wants: In the live-action Constitution class which is now our country, Republicans, just off their last performance of subverting that document and two centuries of precedent to overturn our election, are backing an argument by former Judge Michael Luttig against holding a Senate hearing of Trump’s impeachment charges. His opinion, as restated by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.): “The Senate lacks constitutional authority to conduct impeachment proceedings against a former president. The Founders designed the impeachment process as a way to remove officeholders from public office—not an inquest against private citizens.”
Update: Rand Paul just forced a vote on the constitutionality of an impeachment trial.
What the experts say: Steven Calabresi, the co-founder of the GOP’s beloved right-wing Federalist Society and 170 others across the legal spectrum confirmed that not only can Trump be tried by the Senate, but it is, in fact, their constitutional duty, not a choice, to try any official impeached by the House, whether in office or not. The letter was also signed by Brian Kalt, a law professor at Michigan State University, who is the “leading scholar on the specific question of whether former officials can be impeached.”
Minimal Script: I’m calling from [zip code]. I want to make sure Sen. [___] knows that 170 Constitutional experts such as Steven Calabresi, co-founder of the Federalist Society, have determined that the Senate has a constitutional duty to try Trump for inciting insurrection. And though they can no longer remove him from his seat, we want [him/her] to strongly support his conviction and the constitutional remedy of disqualifying him from future federal office.