Ahead of a scheduled House vote to hold Steve Bannon, who was an adviser to former President Donald Trump, in criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a congressional subpoena, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy argued that subpoena is “invalid.”
“Issuing invalid subpoena weakens our power, not if somebody votes against it,” McCarthy said at a press conference.
Earlier this week, the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol voted to hold Bannon in criminal contempt of Congress after he refused to comply with their subpoena. The full House will vote on the matter Thursday. Republican leadership has advised its members to vote against the measure.
Bannon, through his lawyer, told the committee he would not comply with their subpoena, citing “executive privilege,” which protects certain communications within the executive branch from the legislature or the courts. Legal experts have called this argument into question, as Bannon was not working within the administration the day of the riot and was therefore a private citizen.
McCarthy said Bannon “has the right to go to the court to see if he has the executive privilege or not.”
“I don’t know if he does or not, but neither does the committee,” McCarthy said. “So, they’re weakening the power of Congress itself by issuing invalid subpoenas.”
Asked what makes the subpoena invalid, McCarthy argued the minority was not permitted to participate in the select committee.
“They are using this to target their opponents,” McCarthy said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blocked some of McCarthy’s nominees to the select panel, citing their unfounded claims of election fraud. Pelosi later added to the committee Republican Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.
In a Wednesday Rules Committee hearing on holding Bannon in contempt, Cheney said it would be “the appropriate response in these circumstances” because “witnesses cannot simply ignore congressional subpoenas when they prefer not to attend.”
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Original Author: Kate Scanlon
Original Location: Kevin McCarthy calls Steve Bannon subpoena ‘invalid’