A U.S. congressional committee probing the deadly Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol voted unanimously on Tuesday in favor of contempt-of-Congress charges against Steve Bannon, a longtime aide to former President Donald Trump.
The seven Democratic and two Republican members of the House of Representatives Select Committee approved a report recommending the criminal charge by a unanimous 9-0 vote, calling it "shocking" that Bannon refused to comply with subpoenas seeking documents and testimony.
Approval of the report paves the way for the entire House to vote on whether to recommend contempt charges. A source familiar with the schedule said that vote was planned for Thursday.
If the House approves the referral, the Justice Department will decide whether to pursue a criminal case.
Trump has urged former aides subpoenaed by the panel to reject its requests, claiming the right to withhold information because of executive privilege, a legal principle that protects many White House communications.
President Joe Biden's White House argued that Trump has no legitimate privilege claim.
"The former president's actions represented a unique - and existential - threat to our democracy that can't be swept under the rug," White House spokesman Michael Gwin said. "The constitutional protections of executive privilege should not be used to shield information that reflects a clear and apparent effort to subvert the Constitution itself."
More than 670 people have been charged with taking part in the riot, the worst attack on the U.S. government since the War of 1812. The select committee has issued 19 subpoenas.
Noting that the committee is investigating a violent attack that took place as lawmakers met to certify the results of the 2020 election, Thompson said: "It's shocking to me that anyone would not do everything in their power to assist our investigation."
In its report, the committee argued that Bannon made statements suggesting he knew ahead of time about "extreme events" on Jan. 6, when Congress was scheduled to certify Democrat Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential election.
Bannon said on a Jan. 5 podcast that "All hell is going to break loose tomorrow." The next day, thousands of Trump supporters descended on the Capitol, in an attempt to overturn Trump's election defeat, which Trump falsely claimed was the result of widespread fraud.
Trump filed suit https://www.reuters.com/world/us/trump-sues-us-house-panel-investigating-jan-6-attack-court-document-2021-10-18 on Monday, alleging the committee made an illegal, unfounded and overly broad request for his White House records, which committee leaders rejected.. The Republican former president also urged Bannon and other aides not to cooperate with the committee, but Thompson said Bannon "stands alone" in his refusal.
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