Bannon's meeting with members of Congress before the Jan 6 attack can't be protected by Trump: legal expert
President Donald Trump is attempting to assert executive privilege for a man who wasn't even working for the White House and for conversations that didn't include the ex-president.
That's what NBC News reporter Scott MacFarlane tweeted on Monday evening as Steve Bannon prepared to refuse a Congressional subpoena and risk being held in criminal contempt of Congress.
One of the pieces of information that the Jan. 6 House Select Committee is requesting is information about a meeting that Bannon reportedly had at Trump Tower with members of Congress on Jan. 5.
The Committee specified in their release of the documents that the information being sought doesn't necessarily concern executive privilege. Thus, Trump can't block Bannon from answering questions about any members of Congress he worked with around Jan. 6.
"Anyone with whom he communicated by any means with respect to any aspect of the planning, objectives, conduct, or participation in the January 6, 2021 rally, including but not limited to Boris Epshteyn, Kashyap Patel, and Ezra Cohen Watnick," quoted MacFarlane from the Congressional documents.
"the financing or fundraising to assist any individual's or organization's travel to or accommodation in Washington, D.C., to attend or participate in the January 5, 2021 rally," the documents continue. It also cites "The 'War Room' podcast, insofar as at any time he communicated through it statements referring or relating to the January 6, 2021 rally, including all statements concerning its planning, objectives, purpose, organization, message, or sponsorship."
Those citations prompted former U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance to note that none of these questions are protected by executive privilege and that Trump has no hope of blocking testimony on them.
See the tweets below:
"Anyone w/ whom he communicated with respect to efforts, plans, or proposals to contest the 2020 presidential elect… https://t.co/VgbXwpk39o— Scott MacFarlane (@Scott MacFarlane) 1634601827.0
The ‘‘War Room’’ podcast, insofar as at any time he communicated through it statements referring or relating to the… https://t.co/R5YeNqtQCw— Scott MacFarlane (@Scott MacFarlane) 1634601828.0
In the New York Times, Paul Krugman pointed to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) for continuing to vote against the state's interest that elected him.
Writing in his Monday column, Krugman, said he wanted to focus on Manchin, in large part because "Kyrsten Sinema — does anyone know what's going on with her?"
Of all senators, Manchin has the unique opportunity to score everything he possibly could want or need for his state, but Krugman said that he's refusing to step up for one of the poorest states in the country.
"Manchin appears ready to veto policies that would be in the interests of his own constituents," said Krugman of Manchin's vote. "Let's talk about what considerations should sway a politician serving the people of West Virginia."
He noted the climate change issues and that West Virginia may not be experiencing some of the worst that coastal states like Florida and Louisiana experience or the fires that the west have, but they have their own share of issues.
"West Virginia turns out to be extremely vulnerable to flooding," explained Krugman. "In part because of the damage done by past coal mining. Still, doesn't West Virginia's economy depend on continued use of coal, whatever the environmental effects? The answer is that coal is far less important to the state than it used to be, and its significance is doomed to dwindle no matter what we do about climate change."
West Virginia used to run on coal, about 40 years ago when Manchin first began his political career. At that time, "coal miners were 16 percent of the state's total labor income," wrote Krugman After ten years, that was cut by more than half to 7 percent, and now it's almost entirely gone, taking many communities along with it.
Coal isn't done because of decisions that the government has made, but the free market decided it was an overly expensive source of energy. For those desperate for new jobs or looking to bounce from the coal world to an entirely different kind of employment, Biden's plan would pay for the training for all of those miners, not only saving their employment but the future of their family's financial stability. Manchin could be behind that effort. Instead, he's fighting against it.
"So, West Virginia has a lot to lose and little to gain if the Biden climate plan goes down," explained Krugman.
Krugman then noted that Manchin is trying to cut child tax credits for millions of families by basing it off of work requirements. As Raw Story pointed out this neglects to accommodate families where parents have died from COVID, been jailed, overdosed or had their kids taken away and placed with grandparents or other family members. It also doesn't help Manchin to be making the demands from the deck of his yacht.
"There are many negative things to be said about this piece of stinginess," wrote Krugman, noting that basing money for children on their parent finding work. "One way to think about it is that it's an attempt to force adults into work by holding their children hostage. Is that where we want to be as a country? Also, adding conditions to aid creates hassles and complexity — and the children who need this aid the most come from precisely the families least able to navigate this complexity."
West Virginia also has a population that is "less likely to be employed" than the rest of the country. It isn't because somehow Manchin's people are lazy, he explained, it's that West Virginia is losing job opportunities more than many other states. Which makes the need for transportation projects outlined in Build Back Better even greater.
He went on to walk through all of the ways that West Virginia desperately needs Manchin, or anyone, willing to step up and help them. Manchin has years before he'll need to run for reelection and by the time he would have to explain his vote to voters, his state would already be benefiting from the funding.
Krugman closed by confessing that not all cynical comments about politicians are correct, but he would hope that Manchin does actually care about the interest of his state and its people.
On CNN Monday, former House impeachment counsel Norm Eisen laid out why former President Donald Trump has no grounds to sue to block the release of White House records to the January 6 House committee.
"I do not think that this lawsuit that was filed today is going to result in the withholding of these documents," Eisen told anchor Chris Cuomo. "The president is essentially making two arguments, Chris. He's saying, first, this is an overbroad subpoena, the committee is asking for too much. And second, that even if it's not overbroad, these documents are protected by executive privilege, the confidentiality that the law enshrines for presidential communications."
Eisen argued, however, that it is well within Congress's right to investigate an attack on itself, which is exactly what happened on January 6th.
"So clearly this is not overbroad," he said. "They're doing their job. And then on executive privilege, the complaint talks again and again about the president. But Donald Trump is not the president. Joe Biden is the president. Joe Biden is the one who decides whether to apply these confidentiality rules. And he said no as to the initial set of documents. So I don't think it will work. And as you point out, it's a delay game."
Eisen then pointed to the unique nature of the Trump complaints.
"Nobody has had the chutzpah to make these arguments before," added Eisen. "And Donald Trump is hoping to tie up the courts in the aspiration that Congress flips and he gets out of his subpoenas."
Norm Eisen on Trump's lawsuit to block release of White House records to Jan 6 committee www.youtube.com
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