Here’s how the House can hold Steve Bannon accountable for defying Capitol riot subpoena
Steve Bannon (Reuters)

The day after a deadline passed for four Trump associates to turn over documents related to the January 6th attack, a former House impeachment manager explained on Friday how they could still be held accountable.

MSNBC's Chris Hayes interviewed Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO), who prosecuted Trump for inciting the January 6th insurrection.

Hayes asked what will happen to Steve Bannon, who reportedly refused to comply with the subpoena.

"At the end of the day, if witnesses can defy subpoenas without consequence, then congressional oversight really no longer exists and it's hard to make the case Congress is a co-equal branch of government in that circumstance," Neguse said.

Neguse said he hopes Attorney General Merrick Garland pursues criminal contempt charges.

"But I and many of my colleagues also believe we shouldn't wait for the Department of Justice and we should pursue the contempt powers of Congress in the interim," Neguse said. "Which is something that the Congress can and should do."

"What does that look like?" Hayes asked.

"So inherent contempt powers of the Congress, Chris, have always existed under our constitution," he replied. "The powers have been largely dormant for the better part of the last 90 years. Myself, Ted Lieu (D-CA), Val Demings (D-FL), a group of us on the House Judiciary Committee — who again experienced the stonewalling of the Trump administration first hand — a year-and-a-half ago proposed changing our rules to codify and authorize the use of inherent contempt," he explained, referring to House Resolution 406.

He noted that Congress has the power to levy fines, monetary penalties, and even imprisonment.

"It would not require the passage of the resolution in the Senate and only require a majority vote in the House of Representatives," he explained. "So we think our resolution is a prudent step forward and will certainly be encouraging our colleagues to take it up."


Joe Neguse