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The Trump Enablers Truly in Contempt of Congress

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Unlike those involved in the January 6 coup attempt who refuse to testify, my communist grandfather respected democracy and had the courage to turn up, say his piece, and take the consequences.

About the author: Molly Jong-Fast is a contributing writer at The Atlantic and the author of its newsletter Wait, What? She is also the host of The New Abnormal and a columnist for Vogue.

Over the weekend we learned that Donald Trump’s former political strategist Steve Bannon had written to the January 6 committee indicating that he might, after all, be willing to testify. Bannon, who has been indicted for contempt of Congress, had previously claimed to be bound by executive privilege—though no court has accepted that argument—but he now presented a letter from the former president granting a waiver. Indicating perhaps how seriously he took the committee’s work, Bannon chose to participate in a podcast with Trump’s former lawyer Rudy Giuliani rather than appear at a court hearing yesterday on the contempt charge.

“Congress should not fall for the Bannon-Trump ploy of the withdrawal of a nonexistent privilege,” Norm Eisen, a former ambassador to the Czech Republic and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told me. “Compliance does not purge criminal contempt as a matter of law, and Bannon should not be shown any leniency unless he tells the whole truth.”

What of other Trump associates who have refused to obey the committee’s subpoenas and testify? Only the former trade adviser Peter Navarro faces charges and risks the mandatory minimum of a month in prison if found guilty. The Department of Justice has declined to follow up on the committee’s other........

© The Atlantic

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