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Bannon defies congressional January 6 subpoena, risking contempt charge

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WASHINGTON (AP) — A congressional committee investigating the January 6 insurrection could soon recommend criminal contempt charges against former White House aide Steve Bannon, as he defies a subpoena for documents and testimony about his interactions with former US president Donald Trump before the violent siege of the Capitol.

The committee scheduled a Thursday deposition with Bannon, but his lawyer has said that, at Trump’s direction, he won’t appear. A second witness called for a deposition on Thursday, former Defense Department official Kashyap Patel, also will not appear, according to two people familiar with the confidential negotiations, who were granted anonymity to discuss them. But Patel is still engaging with the committee, the people said.

Two other aides who worked for Trump — former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and longtime Trump social media director Dan Scavino — are scheduled for depositions on Friday. It is unclear whether they will appear. Like Patel, Meadows is speaking with the committee.

Bannon’s testimony is just one facet of an escalating congressional inquiry, with 19 subpoenas issued so far and thousands of pages of documents flowing in. But his defiance is a crucial moment for the committee, whose members are vowing to restore the binding force of congressional subpoenas after they were routinely flouted during Trump’s time in office.

Members of the committee have threatened to pursue criminal contempt charges against subpoenaed witnesses who refuse to comply. A House vote would send those charges to the Justice Department, which would then decide whether to prosecute. But that process could take months, if not years, even if the department decides to pursue charges. And such contempt cases are notoriously difficult to win.

Still, other witnesses are cooperating, including some who organized or staffed the Trump rally on the Ellipse behind the White House that preceded the........

© The Times of Israel

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