Former Trump Assistant Steve Bannon will not provide evidence before the House committee investigating the January 6 uprising, his lawyer said on Thursday.
The previous White House the chief strategist turned podcast hosts were scheduled to appear for a deposit before Select committee to investigate the January 6 attack on the US capital under the terms of a lawsuit issued to him last month.
Robert Costello, Bannon’s lawyer, said The independent that Bannon will not be brought before the committee, despite being ordered by a summons issued to him last month. “He will not testify right now,” Costello said in a text message.
In a letter to committee chairman, Representative Bennie Thompson, Costello explained that Bannon’s refusal to cooperate was based on a claim of executive privilege allegedly made by former President Donald Trump.
“Until you reach an agreement with President Trump or obtain a court ruling on the scope, scope and application of the executive privilege … Bannon will not produce documents or testify,” he wrote.
Most legal experts say Trump lost the ability to invoke the executive privilege – a legal doctrine that protects presidents’ communications with advisers – when President Joe Biden swore in on January 20, because the privilege belongs to the incumbent executive and chancellery presidency, not a former president.
Bannon’s refusal to testify or cooperate with the committee in any way makes it probable that he will be subject to criminal justice for contempt of Congress.
In a statement last week, Thompson and Vice President Liz Cheney promised to take swift action against all witnesses who deliberately ignore the committee’s demands for testimony and documents.
“We will not allow any witness to defy a legal mood or try to end the clock, and we will promptly consider committing a criminal contempt for congressional referral,” Thompson and Cheney said.
If both a majority in the committee and a majority of the entire House of Representatives vote to approve a criminal contempt statement against Bannon, such a referral would be sent by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the U.S. District Attorney, who is required by law to present the case. for contempt charges for a jury.
Although previous administrations have often declined to act on references to criminal contempt from Congress, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said last week that the Biden administration “naturally” would follow the law.
Three other former Trump administration officials – former Deputy Chief of Staff Daniel Scavino, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and former Secretary of Defense Kashyap Patel – were summoned to testify before the committee this week.
Patel is also scheduled to stand for a deposit on Thursday, but even though committee sources say he is “cooperating” with the committee, it is still unclear if he will show up.
Mr Meadows, who served as a congressman in North Carolina until he resigned to become Trump’s top aide in April 2020, is also said to be “involved” in the committee.
He is expected to show up on Friday, but has not indicated whether he will do so. Scavino is not expected to show up because he successfully avoided getting the mood until the end of last week and therefore will not have to testify for a few more weeks.