Steve Bannon, once former President Donald Trump’s chief strategist, has placed himself on a path to now be his chief martyr. On Tuesday evening, the special congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection voted to find Bannon “in contempt of Congress” for refusing to answer questions or deliver documents, as the panel seeks to examine his role in organizing and inspiring the violent assault on the Capitol. “It's a shame that Mr. Bannon has put us in this position, but we won't take no for an answer,” said the chair of the investigative committee, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, (D-MS). “Mr. Bannon will comply with our investigation, or he will face the consequences. Maybe he's willing to be a martyr to a disgraceful cause of whitewashing what happened on Jan. 6.” “We cannot allow anyone to stand in the way of the select committee as we work our way to get the facts. The stakes are just too high,” Thompson said shortly before the vote. Now that the committee has advanced its recommendation to hold Bannon in “contempt of Congress,” the full House is expected to vote on the matter on Thursday. If the resolution is adopted by the Democratic House as expected, the contempt recommendation would then go to Channing D. Phillips, the acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. Democrats are hoping the Department of Justice will move swiftly to hold Bannon in contempt and potentially send him to jail for up to one year, while also potentially fining him up to $100,000. But that punishment might take years to litigate, as Bannon ties up the court with legal challenges over dubious claims of executive privilege. And while Congress has the power to hold people in contempt, the power is rarely used—and hasn’t resulted in a criminal indictment in nearly 40 years. Bannon’s case centers around his refusal to comply with subpoenas over his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The special committee issued a subpoena on Sept. 23 demanding that Bannon turn over records and show up for a deposition the next month. But Bannon refused to deliver documents by the Oct. 7 deadline, and he was a no-show at his scheduled congressional testimony on Oct. 14. Instead, Bannon’s New York City attorney, Bob Costello, sent the committee letters stating that Bannon simply would not cooperate. The committee laid out its motives for questioning Bannon in a resolution, noting that Bannon “appears to have had multiple roles relevant to this investigation, including his role in constructing and participating in the ‘stop the steal’ public relations effort that motivated the attack.” The resolution says Bannon maintained a ‘‘war room’’ at the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington, D.C., and “reportedly spoke with Mr. Trump directly regarding the plans for January 6th on at least one occasion.” It’s that connection to Trump that Bannon is using as a defense for not cooperating. In early October, Bannon’s legal team informed the committee that he would defy the subpoena, relying on a novel legal approach by citing Trump’s “executive privilege”—even though Trump is clearly no longer president and Bannon was not employed by the White House at the time of the attack. That argument notwithstanding, Bannon and his legal team don’t seem eager to make their argument in court. On Monday, just as Trump filed his own lawsuit against the committee to block it from acquiring and inspecting his presidential records, Costello quickly fired off a one-paragraph letter asking for an extra week to “thoughtfully assess the impact of this pending litigation.” On Tuesday, Thompson wrote back swiftly rejecting the request, noting that Trump’s lawsuit had nothing to do with Bannon’s testimony. “The investigation of the Select Committee is extremely important and urgent for the nation, and further delay in compliance by Mr. Bannon undermines the ability of the Committee to timely complete its essential responsibilities,” Thompson wrote. The Biden administration also rejected the delay attempt. A response letter on Monday signed by White House lawyer Jonathan C. Su noted that the president has already decided to not assert executive privilege and will allow congressional investigators to press on. “At this point, we are not aware of any basis for your client’s refusal to appear for a deposition,” wrote Su, who i . . . read the full article here.