Even if Trump adviser Steve Bannon is convicted of criminal contempt and sentenced to jail, he won't be forced to testify before the House Select Committee investigating the Capitol insurrection.
However, there is another strategy the committee could use to ultimately compel Bannon's testimony, according to former U.S. attorney Joyce Vance.
Appearing on MSNBC on Saturday, Vance first commented on Trump's former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, who reacted in a TV interview this week to the committee's decision to subpoena Roger Stone and Alex Jones. "I can tell you that I'm not aware of anybody in the White House that had conversations with either one of those individuals," said Meadows, who is himself defying a subpoena from the committee.
Vance responded to Meadows' comments by saying she "expects to hear that audio tape actually played back against Meadows if the government is forced to compel or prosecute him to obtain his testimony."
"He sure makes a good case for himself as a witness, saying that some people didn't have conversations, and of course implying that other people did," Vance said.
But Vance added that "the real story" is the number of witnesses who are speaking with the committee without subpoenas — as well as the documents that congressional investigators have already obtained.
"We see that reflected in some of these new subpoenas which contain information that's clearly coming from witnesses," Vance said. "They're being very, very definitive — for instance, with some of the members of the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys, when they explain why they're seeking their testimony, and also with some of the folks who are organizers of the Jan. 6 event."
"They're looking at organizers, they're looking at organizations, and they clearly have a trajectory where they're trying to obtain the information they need," she added. "Whether they'll be able to go back and get people like Bannon to testify is still an open question. Even if Bannon is convicted, that's no guarantee that he will ever testify. But the committee will then have an opportunity to engage in civil contempt proceedings that could find him back in prison and holding his own keys to his jail cell based on when he chooses to testify or not."
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House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy issued a statement Saturday in response to backlash over Colorado Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert's islamophobic rant targeting Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).
"I talked to Congresswoman Lauren Boebert today," McCarthy said in the statement. "She has apologized for what she said and has reached out to Congresswoman Omar to meet next week. I spoke with (Majority) Leader (Steny) Hoyer today to facilitate that meeting so that Congress can get back to talking to each other and working on the challenges facing the American people."
After reading McCarthy's statement, MSNBC host Yasmin Vossoughian noted that he failed to call out Boebert's remarks as "wrong or abhorrent or racist or islamophobic." Then Vossoughian asked GOP strategist Susan Del Percio if we should "expect more" from McCarthy.
"We should expect more from leadership, but Kevin McCarthy has shown no leadership, so I don't expect more from him because he's incompetent and is just bound to whatever he thinks — and that's the key, whatever he thinks — will make Donald Trump happy," Del Percio said. "So that's his audience and that's who he's playing to. ... Kevin McCarthy is trying to maybe look like something — I can't say like a leader, because he's just not — and he's just become pathetic."
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Appearing on MSNBC Saturday afternoon with host Alex Witt, Guardian reporter Hugo Lowell revealed that the House select committee that recently subpoenaed organizers of the January 6th protest that turned into a riot have every intention of demanding new video taken by the insurrectionists -- many of whom were wearing body cams.
According to Lowell, the recent round of subpoenas handed out to Roger Stone and members of the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys could turn up more valuable information about the events of the day.
"What do investigators want to know from these groups? What kind of information could they provide?" host Witt asked.
"Well, the January 6th committee, as you know, is trying to see if there was a connection between the [Donald] Trump White House, possibly Trump himself, and the attack on the Capitol," the journalist explained. "And, of course, the people that attacked the Capitol were led by these paramilitary groups like the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys, and if you look into the subpoenas that were issued, I think Tuesday, you see kind of what the committee is trying to get at."
"They want the documents, they want testimony as usual," he elaborated. "They're also looking for body cam footage. These guys wore body cams everywhere. If there were incriminating conversations or meetings, then the committee wants to get ahold of that as well."
"That makes sense," Witt replied. "What about the subpoenas that were issued to five political operatives that were associated with Trump; the most notable is Roger Stone, Alex Jones as well. What does that tell you about the direction of the investigation and the kinds of questions they could answer, and what do you think the odds are, Hugo, that they actually cooperate?"
'Well, I think these subpoenas are really interesting," he replied. "If you look at the subpoena for these two guys, like Roger Stone, Alex Jones, what becomes clear is that the committee has noted that these two guys, huge figures in Trump world were invited to speak at the rally before the January 6th attack, and they were also invited to lead the march from the rally to the Capitol, but curiously, they didn't attend either."
"I think the fact that chairman Bennie Thompson mentioned this in the letter shows where the committee is going with this, and they want to know did these guys, you know, who are connected to the people -- that are connected to Trump world operatives, possibly even to president Trump himself, did they have advance knowledge of what might go down at the capitol and was that the reason why they didn't participate? I think this is the central question," he explained.
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