Jan. 6 panel plans contempt voting as Trump sues for probe

The House committee charged with investigating the Jan. 6, Capitol insurrection is quickly moving Tuesday to hold at most one of Donald Trump’s allies in contempt. As the former president pushes back against the probe in a new suit.

Jan. 6 panel plans contempt voting as Trump sues for probe

Trump is trying to stop the work of the committee by telling former White House aide Steve Bannon to not answer questions in the probe and also suing Congress to stop the panel from obtaining documents from the White House. The House committee says it will not relent as they collect facts and testimony on Trump's attack that left dozens injured and sent lawmakers fleeing for their lives.

"The ex-president's clear goal is to prevent the Select Committee from finding the facts about January 6, and his lawsuit is nothing but an attempt to delay or obstruct our probe," stated Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Republican Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyoming), in a joint statement on Monday.

They said, "It's difficult to imagine a greater public interest than trying get answers about an attack against our democracy and an attempt at overturning the results of an electoral election."

Trump filed a lawsuit after Biden waived his right to prevent the release of documents over executive privilege concerns. According to papers filed in federal courts in the District of Columbia, Trump claims that the August request by the panel was too broad and an "illegal fishing expedition".

As Trump repeatedly stated, the lawsuit was inevitable. He has also made it clear that he would challenge the investigation into the attack on his family by a mob of supporters. Trump's challenge was more than the initial 125 pages that Biden had approved for release to the committee. The suit names both the National Archives and the committee. It seeks to invalidate the entire congressional request as it is too broad, burdensome, and challenges the separation of powers. The suit seeks a court injunction that prohibits the archivists from producing the documents.

In clearing documents for release, the Biden administration stated that the nine-month-old violent siege on the Capitol was so extraordinary that it merited to be waived the privilege that normally protects communications from the White House.

This legal challenge was made just days before the panel votes to recommend that Bannon is held in criminal contempt for Congress for refusing to submit documents and testify to the committee. The committee released Monday's resolution, which is scheduled to be voted on Tuesday by the panel. It asserts that Bannon, a former Trump aide, and podcast host, has no legal standing in order to reject the committee. Trump's lawyer argued that Bannon shouldn't disclose any information that was protected under the privilege of his former president.

The committee stated that Bannon was a private citizen at the time he spoke with Trump before the attack. Trump has not claimed any executive privilege claims to this panel.

According to the resolution, there were many ways that Bannon was involved in the insurrection's lead-up, including his encouragement to Trump to concentrate on Jan. 6, when Congress approved the presidential election, and his remarks on Jan. 5, that "all hell will break loose" the following day.

After the committee votes on Bannon's contempt measure, it will be sent to the full House for a vote, and then to the Justice Department which would decide whether or not to prosecute.

The White House attempted to undermine Bannon's argument in a letter obtained from The Associated Press. Jonathan Su, Deputy Counsel, wrote that Bannon was also affected by the president's decision regarding the documents. "At this point, we don't know of any basis for your client refusing to appear for deposition."

Su wrote to Bannon's lawyer, "President Biden's determination regarding privilege not justified with regard to these subjects applies to your clients deposition testimony as well as any documents your client may have concerning either subject."

Bannon's lawyer said that he hadn't yet seen the letter, and couldn't comment on it. Bannon said that he requires a court order to comply with his subpoena. However, Kashyap Patel, the former White House Chief Of Staff and White House Pentagon aide Kashyap Patel have been in negotiations with the committee. It is not clear if Dan Scavino (another former White House aide) will comply.

The committee also subpoenaed over a dozen people involved in planning Trump rallies before the siege. Some of these individuals have already indicated that they will turn over documents and testify.

The committee demanded broad ranges of executive branch papers relating to intelligence gathered prior to the attack, security prepared during and before the siege and the pro-Trump rallies that day, as well as Trump's false claims about winning the election.