WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives electoral committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol will meet on Tuesday evening to vote on whether to recommend implementation

Stephen Bannon,

a former advisor to the former president

Donald Trump,

in criminal contempt for defying a subpoena from Congress.

The whole House is expected to vote on confirming the disregard resolution of the committee and refer the matter to the Justice Department for possible prosecution. The Democrats have a slim majority in the House of Representatives.

The Justice Department has not said how it would respond to a House referral in the case of Mr Bannon, but did not state until 2015 that it would be open to such charges under certain circumstances may be.

President Biden said Friday that those who defy the committee’s subpoenas should be prosecuted, resulting in a sharp reaction from the attorney general

Merrick Garlands

Spokesman who said the agency would make its own “independent decisions in all law enforcement operations based solely on the facts and the law.” The White House subsequently said that Mr. Biden supports the independence of the Department of Justice.

Anyone who refuses to comply with a subpoena is potentially liable for congressional disregard, and conviction of the crime can result in both a fine and a Up to 12 months imprisonment. The Justice Department would have yet to take the case to a grand jury, and Mr. Bannon would be able to defend himself in court.

The committee vote on Tuesday is likely to open a lawsuit over the extent of executive privileges claimed by a former president and whether these safeguards apply to conversations or advice from individuals, not just government officials.

Although Mr Bannon served as a White House advisor at the start of the Trump administration, he was removed from the White House by the former President in August 2017 repressed. At the time of the subpoena, Mr. Bannon was not a member of the government.

An assertion of executive privilege for outside advisors and confidants was never examined by the courts.

The situation could also put the Biden Justice Department to the test. In 2019, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives voted 230-198 to ask the Justice Department to prosecute the then attorney general

William Barr

and then trade secretary

Wilbur Ross

for rejecting subpoenas from Congress to produce documents related to adding a citizenship issue to the census.

However, a Department of Justice policy largely precludes prosecution of administrative officials in documentary or testimony disputes with Congress, and the Department did not respond to the 2019 referral.

In 2015, former Internal Revenue Service officer Lois Lerner was also referred from the House of Representatives to the Justice Department for prosecution – but the Obama administration also declined. However, the Department said at the time that “in the appropriate circumstances, a US Attorney General will call a grand jury …

Now House Democrats are saying that they hope the Biden Justice Department, led by Mr. Garland, could be ready to pursue criminal contempt for Mr Bannon and other Trump allies who refuse to cooperate with the committee.

The House of Representatives Special Committee on Jan. 6 was set up in a largely bipartisan vote in June after the Republicans in the Senate had blocked the establishment of a bipartisan, independent commission. It is investigating the causes and circumstances of the attack on the Capitol when a mob of Trump supporters stormed the building and temporarily interrupted the confirmation of Mr Biden’s victory.

The committee is chaired by the chairman

Bennie Thompson

(D., Fr.) and deputy chairperson

Liz Cheney

(R., Wyo.) And consists mainly of Democrats. Ms. Cheney and the only other Republican on the panel

Representative Adam Kinzinger

of Illinois, are both outspoken critics of Mr. Trump. They were appointed by the spokesman

Nancy Pelosi

(D., Calif.), As did all seven Democrats on the committee.

Mr Trump filed a lawsuit in federal court Monday to prevent records from his White House being turned over to the committee, claiming the inquiries The Biden government said there was no need to rely on executive privilege to protect the records and the National Archives had planned to open them on Dec. November 22nd to the committee.

Mr. Bannon’s attorney, Robert J. Costello, alleges that Mr. Bannon is unable to respond to the committee’s subpoena because of the executive privileges asserted by Mr. Trump. Citing the lawsuit, Mr Costello lettered the committee Monday to request a one-week delay. Mr Thompson turned it down, saying the lawsuit was “insubstantial” to the committee’s request for documents and testimony from Mr Bannon.

As litigation looms, select committee members are examining possible legislative changes to the way that Congress confirmed election results said

Rep Jamie Raskin

(D., Md.), Panel member.

“We are investigating the nature of threats to the integrity of the electoral college system,” said Raskin. Some of the ideas discussed include ensuring that the vice president’s role “remains legislative and ministerial,” the number of lawmakers who must object to a state’s election results, and changing the process of validating an objection, he said.

Ref: https://www.wsj.com