Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who sits on the Jan. 6 committee investigating the Capitol riot, announced over the weekend that they are “prepared to go forward and urge the Justice Department” to prosecute conservatives who refuse to comply with their subpoenas.
The committee has set its sights on Steve Bannon, Mark Meadows, Dan Scavino, and Kash Patel. All of them are former advisers and aides to former President Trump. They have all defied subpoenas delivered to their doorsteps by the committee. Schiff threatened them on Face the Nation, stating that he will “make sure that these witnesses come in and testify,” as it is their “lawful duty.”
He gushed over the Biden administration for turning over Trump’s presidential documents and for “not asserting executive privilege” in connection to them. Schiff claims they are key pieces of evidence that relate to the Capitol riot and says they will be given to the committee “very soon.”
Schiff slobbered over the Biden administration by further praising them for “not trying, because it’s protecting its own prerogative, to deprive the American people of the full facts. So hats off to the administration.”
(Video Credit: Face the Nation)
The House committee is especially intent on sinking their fangs into Steve Bannon. The committee may refer Bannon for criminal prosecution by the Department of Justice (DOJ) if he doesn’t show up for a deposition slated for Thursday according to The Hill.
That would put Attorney General Merrick Garland back in the hot seat once again after he just recently empowered the FBI to go after any parent seen as a threat to school boards, officials, or teachers. He’s previously vowed to restore the integrity and reputation of the DOJ. If he moves on Bannon, that will ostensibly do just the opposite.
“That’s going to be something that will be considered at the highest levels at DOJ, and what they’re going to consider with any referral like that is how strong of a case is it, and even if it’s readily provable — how important is it that we do this?” asked Mark Osler, who is a former federal prosecutor that teaches law at the University of St. Thomas.
Congress can under the law refer a noncompliant witness to the DOJ for prosecution. The person in question could get jail time, a fine, or both.
Bannon’s attorney said he would disregard the subpoena until a yet-to-be-filed legal case from Trump resolved whether the former president can invoke executive privilege to bar his ex-employees from testifying before lawmakers.
“We will comply with the direction of the courts,” Robert Costello, Bannon’s attorney, stated in a letter.
“We may have additional tools now that we didn’t before, including a Justice Department that may be willing to pursue criminal contempt when people deliberately flout compulsory process,” Schiff said in September.
Now, he’s calling Republicans “insurrectionists in suits and ties.”
“What angered me the most about (January 6) were these insurrectionists in suits and ties who were still — even after the bloody insurrection — after all the shattered glass and the death of that day, were back on the House floor trying to overturn the election,” Schiff asserted.
(Berman): Is @GOPLeader Kevin McCarthy an "insurrectionist in a suit and tie?"
— John Berman (@JohnBerman) October 12, 2021
Barbara McQuade, who served as a U.S. attorney during the Obama administration, is salivating over the possibility, claiming that the referral provides the DOJ the opportunity to hold Trump’s closest allies accountable.
“There are a number of things prosecutors have to think about. One is, what is the deterrent effect of bringing a case here in light of the history of the Trump administration, allies, and others thumbing their noses at congressional subpoenas and stalling? There’s a compelling case here for bringing criminal charges,” she gleefully declared.
McQuade says there are other options as well. The House sergeant-at-arms could arrest Bannon or the House could file its own civil suit asking a judge to hold Bannon in contempt and throw him in jail until he agrees to speak with lawmakers.
“It’s the less aggressive approach that might be effective,” she said relishing political intimidation. “Prosecutors in general and Garland, in particular, tend to look for the path of least resistance. I don’t need to use the nuclear weapon if the conventional weapon will work.”
Conservatives would definitely see any of these moves as political persecution.
Former Trump chief-of-staff Mark Meadows is rebuffing the heavy-handed actions from the committee.
(Video Credit: Fox News)
“I can tell you what we’re seeing here is basically Democrats want to talk about anything other than the economy, anything other than the fact that there are more people that could be working that aren’t working right now,” Meadows told Laura Ingraham.
She then asked for his reaction to Schiff’s threat to ask the DOJ to charge Meadows criminally if he doesn’t comply with the subpoena.
“Listen, I’m gonna let the attorneys handle all of that,” he replied. “I can say this… when I talk to people they say we’ve already been through two impeachments. Why do we go through an impeachment of Donald Trump on this very issue and now we’re holding hearings? They don’t quite understand that. The American people know that it’s politics as usual. Hopefully, we’ll get beyond that.”
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