The select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riot is threatening to pursue criminal charges against Steve Bannon, the former White House strategist to former President Trump after he refused to comply with its subpoena.
A lawyer for Bannon said he won’t contribute to the House committee’s investigation because former President Trump is asserting executive privilege.
Bannon is the only one of the top Trump aides subpoenaed on September 23 who was not working for the Trump administration on January 6, the day of the attack on the U.S. Capitol.
‘I stand with Trump and the Constitution,’ he told DailyMail.com.
Two other aides, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and former Pentagon aide Kash Patel, are ‘engaging’ with the committee, lawmakers said in a statement.
Former White House strategist Steve Bannon said, ‘I stand with Trump and the Constitution’ on Friday as his lawyer wrote to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 violence to tell lawmakers that he would not comply with their subpoena
Former White House communications aide Dan Scavino has been asked to provide documents to the committee. He is pictured in August 2020
Members of the House select committee investigating the deadly pro-Trump invasion of the U.S. Capitol a pictured meeting a room ahead of the first hearing in July 2021
The committee’s subpoenas had set a Thursday deadline for Bannon, Meadows, Patel and a fourth witness, former White House communications aide Dan Scavino, to provide documents. They also set dates for interviews next week.
A spokesman for the committee declined to comment on whether Scavino was cooperating.
Bannon is one of four former officials that the House January 6 committee subpoenaed to provide documents and testimony as they investigate the violence that engulfed the Capitol after a Trump rally nearby.
All four were told by the former president’s attorney on Wednesday that he planned to defend himself against what he viewed as an infringement of ‘executive privilege.’
In a letter sent to the committee, seen by DailyMail.com, Bannon’s lawyer wrote that he would honor Trump’s claim.
‘It is therefore clear to us that since the executive privileges belong to President Trump, and he has, through his counsel, announced his intention to assert those executive privileges… we must accept his direction and honor his invocation of executive privilege,’ writes Bannon’s attorney Robert Costello, who also represents Rudy Giuliani.
‘As such, until those issues are resolved, we are unable to respond to your requests for documents and testimony.’
Bannon’s lawyer said that his client was unable to respond to the request for testimony because of Trump’s claim of executive privilege
The letter goes on to say that Bannon will comply with the direction of any court ruling on claims of executive privilege.
‘Since these privileges belong to President Trump and not to Mr. Bannon, until these issues are resolved, Mr. Bannon is legally unable to comply with your subpoena requests for documents and testimony,’ it concludes.
Costello is a former deputy chief of the criminal division for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York.
He also represents Trump aide and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani in investigations about his business dealings.
The letter sets the stage for a legal challenge to force Bannon to testify.
And it sets up a likely clash with House Democrats, who are investigating the role of Trump and his associates in the build up to the riot.
The committee responded by warning of criminal proceedings.
‘We will not allow any witness to defy a lawful subpoena or attempt to run out the clock, and we will swiftly consider advancing a criminal contempt of Congress referral,’ said its Chairman Bennie Thompson and Vice Chair Liz Cheney.
Last month the committee issued subpoenas to Bannon; Mark Meadows, former White House chief of staff; Dan Scavino, Trump’s social media wizard and former deputy chief of staff for communications; and Kash Patel, a former Defense Department official.
In its letter to Bannon, the committee wrote: ‘You have been identified as present at the Willard Hotel on January 5, 2021 during an effort to persuade members of Congress to block the certification of the Election the next day, and in relation to other activities on Jan. 6.’
Bannon spent eight months as White House strategist. He now runs the War Room podcast
It also pointed out that he told listeners of his War Room podcast on January 5 that ‘all hell is going to break loose tomorrow.’
For Scavino, the committee referenced tweets sent by Trump’s former social media lead and asked him to turn over video recordings of the president’s message to supporters telling them to go home as the violence unfolded.
The deadline for them to respond was midnight on Thursday.
Lawmakers believe they can win a challenge over executive privilege as Trump is no longer in office and some of those subpoenaed were no longer working for him on January 6.
Trump himself railed against what he called a partisan investigation this week.
‘The Unselect Committee of partisan Democrats, and two very weak and pathetic RINOs, should come to the conclusion after spending many millions of dollars, that the real insurrection happened on November 3rd, the Presidential Election, not on January 6th – which was a day of protesting the Fake Election results,’ the ex-president claimed in an interview with Sean Hannity.