WASHINGTON D.C. — Nine House Republicans, including West Michigan U.S. Reps. Peter Meijer (R–Grand Rapids) and Fred Upton (R–St. Joseph), voted to hold Trump ally Steve Bannon in criminal contempt of Congress, after Bannon defied a subpoena issued by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
The nine GOP lawmakers joined all 220 House Democrats in supporting the resolution, which will now head the Department of Justice to determine whether to prosecute.
The select committee labeled Bannon, Trump’s former top adviser, as a key witness to the Jan. 6 attack and subpoenaed him for documents and testimony.
While rare, those found guilty of contempt of Congress could face fines or up to a year in jail time.
“Mr. Bannon refused to comply with a valid subpoena from a duly-formed congressional committee, claiming broad executive privilege. There exists no conceivable interpretation of executive privilege that would encompass an individual outside of government conferring with senior government officials on non-official matters,” said Representative Meijer in a statement explaining his vote.
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“Holding individuals who refuse to comply with congressional subpoenas in contempt is the sole recourse available to Congress to protect its power of inquiry,” he added.
Meijer and Upton were among 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach former President Donald Trump in January, following the Capitol attack.
“No one is above the law. That has always been one of my guiding tenants. As a former chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Oversight Subcommittee, I used the subpoena sparingly. I always consulted with my Democratic colleagues and, without exception, the process brought the witness to the table,” Representative Upton said.
“January 6th was a terrible day here in the nation’s capital and that episode needs answers to the many questions still outstanding. I supported a bipartisan commission that passed the House but failed to get the required 60 votes in the Senate earlier this year. That Republican proposal required at least one Democrat and one Republican to support the issuance of any subpoena. The January 6th Select Committee did have two Republicans and all the Democrats support the subpoena for Steve Bannon,” explained Upton.
“When the Select Committee to investigate January 6th issued numerous subpoenas, every individual, including former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, cooperated, except Steve Bannon,” he added.
Other Republicans to vote in favor of the resolution include Jan. 6 Committee Members Rep. Liz Cheney (R–Wyoming) and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R–Illinois), as well as Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R–Pennsylvania), Anthony Gonzalez (R–Ohio), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R–Washington), John Katko (R–New York) and Rep. Nancy Mace (R–South Carolina).