Former US Attorney details the next steps for Bannon after defying subpoenas
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Steve Bannon refused to appear before Congress after being subpoenaed by the Jan. 6 House Select Committee, despite warnings from members that the committee would refer him for criminal contempt charges.

Former U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance walked through the ramifications for Bannon, who no longer falls under the protection of a president. Bannon was previously pardoned by Donald Trump for his involvement in allegedly scamming donors out of money to pay for the U.S./Mexico border wall.

Vance explained that the other Congressional subpoenas were for members of the administration and Bannon clearly wasn't working for the White House when the Jan. 6 attack occurred.

She explained, "it isn't unusual to negotiate a Congressional subpoena to limit the scope of testimony and what documents will be produced. It's expected that 'accommodation' between the executive and legislative branches will take place in these situations. This process, which resolves executive privilege issues without resort to litigation, is commonplace."

She explained that it's how democracy works in a normal era with a normal government, but Bannon and Trump aren't committed to "normal," much less the rule of law, particularly when their interests are at stake.

Vance went on to call Trump's claim of executive privilege "a frivolous claim, so clearly unsupported by the law that it's obvious Bannon isn't asserting it in good faith." She noted that even for former White House staffers, the claim isn't likely to work because the current president would have to authorize it.

So, Congress has two options, Vance said, and there are no guarantees that the House can compel Bannon's testimony, even if they were to give him immunity from prosecution.

"In fact, Bannon might prefer to cloak himself in the mantle of martyrdom, using it to advance Trump's victimhood narrative," wrote Vance. "But at a minimum, Bannon can be held accountable for his misconduct like anyone else who defies a Congressional subpoena."

The options that are available, however, could mean that Bannon is sentenced for at least 30 days in prison to as much as a year. It would also mean a criminal trial that would publicly present evidence against Bannon and Trump for the world to see.

She noted that the Congressional power to arrest people who are in contempt of Congress hasn't been used for almost 100 years and would likely mean another string of lawsuits. She also warned that it could end up being used by the likes of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who could use it to go after Democrats. It could be a fear that Democrats have, but a court would likely see the difference between an investigation into Jan. 6 and partisan hackery.

She closed by explaining that one of the most difficult concerns is that if Congress can't enforce subpoenas then it isn't on equal footing with the rest of the branches of government as the Constitution outlines.

"In the face of blatant obstruction, designed to obscure the truth about an attempted insurrection, its ability to perform its oversight function as a co-equal branch of government will be effectively ended, she wrote. "If the checks and balances between the branches of government collapse, we'll be left with an impotent legislature, a Supreme Court dominated by Trump-appointed justices following Mitch McConnell's confirmation power plays, and an executive branch that Trump could well take back in 2024. That's not a recipe for rebuilding democracy."

Read the full take here.