Kevin McCarthy argues against subpoenas in amicus brief filed in support of Jan. 6 committee target Steve Bannon
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Photo from Nicholas Kamm for AFP)

On Tuesday, the right-wing Daily Caller reported that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) filed an amicus brief in favor of former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon in his trial for contempt of Congress.

"In a motion to dismiss filed in April, Bannon and his attorneys argue that his contempt charges are unlawful because the Select Committee violates the rules of the House of Representatives due to its lack of a minority-appointed ranking member," reported Michael Ginsberg. "McCarthy’s brief supports that position, noting that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi described an ''unprecedented' approach to forming the Select Committee.'"

"'It is therefore not at all extraordinary that the House failed to contemplate the possibility of less than thirteen (13) Members being appointed upon passage of Resolution 503,' which requires the inclusion of thirteen committee members, including five appointed by the minority, McCarthy’s brief says."

McCarthy indeed did not appoint any Republican members to the committee, which was empaneled after Senate Republicans shot down a bipartisan 9/11-style Commission to look into the attack on the Capitol. However, this is not because Pelosi didn't allow it. Rather, she shot down two specific proposed members by McCarthy -- Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Jim Banks (R-IN), owing to their explicit public opposition to the existence of the committee and involvement with figures being investigated by it. McCarthy withdrew his other picks and boycotted the committee altogether after Pelosi's action.

McCarthy also opposed the establishment of the bipartisan commission, which would have given Republicans far more power over the proceedings. Also, even after declaring his boycott, Pelosi appointed two Republicans to serve on the committee, Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL).

Bannon was indicted for contempt of Congress after a blanket refusal to cooperate with the committee, claiming executive privilege — which legal experts believe does not apply in this case as Bannon was not a member of the White House on Jan. 6, 2021.

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