Tables Turn on Pelosi in Jan. 6 Farce

Turnabout is fair play – particularly in the world of politics.

Steve Bannon, who himself is about to go on trial for defying a Congressional subpoena, has subpoenaed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and members of the January 6 Committee as he builds his defense!

Bannon, a conservative firebrand who previously served as former President Donald Trump’s chief strategist and senior counselor, was charged with two counts of contempt of Congress in November 2021 after refusing to testify and produce documents.

He has pleaded not guilty.

According to CNN, last week, Bannon’s legal team subpoenaed 16 lawmakers and congressional staffers to testify at his upcoming July trial and produce documents. The subpoenas were aimed at all nine members of the select committee, three committee staffers, and General Counsel for the House of Representatives Douglas Letter.

Bannon also subpoenaed House Democratic leadership, including Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and Rep. Jim Clyburn.

A spokesman for the House committee has declined to comment on the matter. Spokespeople for Pelosi, Hoyer, and Clyburn in kind have yet to respond to CNN’s and other outlet’s requests to comment on Bannon’s action.

Legal experts say that it is unlikely that Bannon’s grandstanding play will result in the lawmakers actually coming forward.

Historically it has been a challenge to compel members of Congress to testify because their legislative activity is protected under the Constitution’s Speech and Debate Clause.

“In this particular case, I’m extremely confident that the staff members and members of the House would be shielded by the Speech and Debate Clause,” said Thomas Spulak, who served as general counsel to the House of Representatives in the 1990s.

The lawmakers and staffers could file a motion to quash the subpoenas on those grounds.

“I’m very confident that defense would be upheld, and they will not be compelled to produce anything or appear for anything,” Spulak said.

Bannon’s attorneys are seeking to challenge the makeup of the House select committee, question lawmakers’ motives for targeting Bannon, and argue Bannon was not required to testify because doing so could have jeopardized former President Trump’s executive privilege.

“I believed from the start that it’s a purely political motive going after Bannon,” said David Schoen, one of Bannon’s attorneys. He said if the committee truly wanted Bannon’s testimony, it would not have referred him for criminal contempt charges.

Other Republicans have also justified their refusals to testify before the Jan. 6 committee on similar grounds.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy refused to comply with a committee subpoena, claiming it was “not legally valid.” Former Trump White House adviser Peter Navarro, who has been charged with two counts of contempt of Congress, also refused to testify and has cited executive privilege issues and claimed his subpoena from the “kangaroo committee” was unenforceable.

Navarro was arrested and unceremoniously slapped in handcuffs, and taken into custody at an airport on Friday, June 3.

Written by CFP Staff Writer

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