A US parliamentary commission of inquiry on Thursday ruled in favor of a lawsuit for “obstructing the work of Congress” against Steve Bannon, a former adviser to Donald Trump who refuses to participate in the investigation into the assault on Capitol Hill.
“Steve Bannon will comply with our investigation, or he will face the consequences,” said Democrat Bennie Thompson, who heads this commission criticized by Donald Trump and his allies.
“We cannot allow anyone to stand in the way of the work of the special commission while we work to establish the facts. The stakes are just too high, ”he added before a unanimous nine-member vote in favor of the prosecution.
Steve Bannon was summoned Thursday before this special committee of the House of Representatives which is investigating the role of the former Republican president in the attack by his supporters against the seat of Congress on January 6, when elected officials certified victory of Joe Biden in the presidential election. But he did not appear before the elected officials. This recommendation of the commission of inquiry is now subject to a vote in plenary sitting in the House, where the Democrats have a majority, for transmission to the Minister of Justice. Merrick Garland will decide whether to charge Steve Bannon, who could potentially face up to a year in prison.
Steve Bannon, 67, was one of the architects of Donald Trump’s successful presidential campaign in 2016 before being pushed out by the Republican billionaire. In the last days of his term, the president granted him leniency, ending the embezzlement prosecution. Although he was not in any official position on January 6, he appears to have discussed the January 6 protest with the president in the days leading up to the assault, according to the commission.
In addition to this adviser, four other relatives of Donald Trump have received summons from the special commission, demanding documents or their testimony. The former president urged them not to comply, citing the executive’s right to keep certain information secret. But for Democrats, that prerogative only applies to the sitting president.
The legal debate should take place in the courts and could slow down the work of the commission. President Joe Biden said on Friday that those who ignore the commission’s subpoenas should be prosecuted. A spokesperson for the Minister of Justice had however declared in the wake that the ministry made “independent decisions in all proceedings, based only on the facts and the law”.