The House of Representatives voted Thursday, October 21, to find Stephen Bannon in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena from the “Select Committee to investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol.”
The Jan. 6 committee voted unanimously to recommend a contempt charge Tuesday, Oct. 19, after Bannon skipped a scheduled interview. The former aide to Donald Trump cited a letter from Trump’s lawyer advising him not to answer any questions.
When it was all said and done, every voting Democrat had toed the party line. On the GOP side, nine representatives voted “aye.” The final vote was 229-202, with one Republican not weighing in. The vote had been expected to be a success, as the Democrats have the numbers and the Jan. 6 committee had pledged to punish anyone who wouldn’t comply with the investigation.
However, that’s where the legislative process ends. It’s now up to the Department of Justice to actually bring charges and prosecute. Though pressed on the issue during his own hearing in House earlier on the same day, Attorney General Merrick Garland didn’t indicate which way the Department would go. “If the House of Representatives votes for a referral of a contempt charge, the Department of Justice will do what it always does in such circumstances,” he explained, non-committedly. “It will apply the facts and the law and make a decision consistent with the principles of prosecution.”
That said, that the Biden administration wants to pursue this punishment for Jan. 6 – and especially the audacity of any who dare defy the investigation – seems about as likely as the fact that Bannon would be found in contempt going into the vote.