Capitol Attack Committee Consider Criminal Contempt Fence of Steve Bannon – Live | US News


Steve Bannon claimed executive privilege as a reason for not cooperating with a subpoena from the Special House Committee investigating the Jan.6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Steve Bannon. Photograph: Michal Čížek / AFP / Getty Images

His lawyers’ letter to the committee (see block here) echoes a letter sent to Jerrold Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, in September 2019, regarding a subpoena issued to Corey Lewandowski, a former campaign chairman of Trump and, until recently, a powerful figure in Trump’s orbit.

The lawyer writing on Lewandowski’s behalf indicates that what ultimately happened – a “difficult” hearing in which Lewandowski was definitely not made to reveal damaging information by Democrats wondering if Trump should be impeached – it will happen, thanks to claims of executive privilege.

This doctrine, says the lawyer, considers that “communications from the president seeking advice or information in the performance of his duties are highly confidential and are generally not subject to disclosure.”

There are many potential differences between Lewandowski’s and Bannon’s case, but one of the most egregious is that Lewandowski’s lawyer did not claim blanket executive privilege, as Bannon now does.

Another difference is that the lawyer who wrote on Lewandowski’s behalf was Pat Cipollone, then Trump’s White House legal adviser.

The power of a sitting president is of course enormous. But now Trump is not seated, Bannon has no such protection from inside the Oval Office.

In short, like much constitutional law, arguments about executive privilege are sort of arguments about how many angels can fit on the head of a pin. Doctrine, precedent, and evidence matter less than who is in the most powerful position.

In Bannon’s case, in short, he and other targets of the Jan.6 committee subpoenas lack what Mitt Romney called a “900lb gorilla“on their side. So if the committee decides to get mad at their refusal to cooperate, things could get interesting.

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