Committee must hold Bannon accountable

Bannon's attempts to claim executive privilege no longer pertain



October 20, 2021 - 9:42 AM

Donald Trump and Steve Bannon Photo by (MANDEL NGAN/Getty Images/TNS)

It’s not surprising that former Donald Trump strategist Steve Bannon continues to thumb his nose at the law, but a congressional committee should not allow him to again escape legal responsibility.

The Jan. 6 committee is looking into details of the Capitol riot where Trump supporters attempted to prevent Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s election victory.

The committee has deposed Bannon and three other Trump officials — former chief of staff Mark Meadows, former deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino and Kash Patel, who was serving as chief of staff to then-acting Defense secretary Christopher Miller.

The committee is facing opposition from Trump, who said he plans to fight subpoenas from the panel by using executive privilege.

The courts will weigh whether Trump can make a claim for executive privilege, which traditionally is used by sitting presidents to keep deliberations confidential.

The committee has indicated it will take a tough stand against former Trump staffers who fail to comply to subpoenas and may issue contempt of Congress orders as soon as this week.

Bannon said he won’t testify, citing vague references to privileges of the former president. The committee needs to use all its authority to ensure Bannon is not allowed to dodge testifying.

A supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump sits inside the office of U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as he protests inside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. Demonstrators breeched security and entered the Capitol as Congress debated the a 2020 presidential election Electoral Vote Certification. Photo by (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

He has a history of escaping justice. He was facing federal charges for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the “We Build the Wall” campaign, which was a fundraising initiative that raised $25 million to help build a U.S.-Mexico border wall.

But then-President Trump pardoned Bannon before his case went to trial.

Bannon has a long history of spurring wild far-right conspiracy theories, but continues to get relatively strong support from many Republican leaders, even after Trump fired Bannon.

The committee has already received and is reviewing troves of documents and information about the Jan. 6 uprising, even as many current and former Republican leaders continue to oppose the committee’s work and claim the riot was not a serious assault on democracy and on Congress.

Bannon and the other former Trump administration officials can’t be allowed to escape justice. Bannon’s arguments for not testifying are specious. Fortunately, he doesn’t have a sitting president who will again protect him.