The House Rules Committee voted for a procedure for the House to hold former chief White House strategist Steven Bannon in contempt of Congress – setting up a bitter floor clash for Thursday over the Jan. 6th riot and its aftermath.
A angry debate over the rule in the cramped Rules panel’s Capitol hearing room provided a preview for the pyrotechnics, with Republican Liz Cheney of Wyoming testifying about the ‘dark day in our history’ and urging the panel not to let Bannon ignore a subpoena.
Cheney accused House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of blocking a bipartisan commission to probe the Jan. 6th Capitol riot earlier this year and intimidating fellow Republican lawmakers as a House panel conducts its probe.
‘I’ve heard from a number of my colleagues in the last several days who say they quote just don’t want this target on their back. They’re just trying to keep their heads down. They don’t want to anger Kevin McCarthy, the minority leader, who as been especially active in attempting to block the investigation of events of Jan. 6th, despite the fact that he clearly called for such a commission the week after the attack,’ she said.
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) at a Wednesday GOP conference meeting urged Republicans to vote ‘no’ on the Bannon contempt finding, CNN reported, signaling the debate will be yet another partisan clash.
President Trump is asserting executive privilege, and has sued the Jan. 6th committee and its chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, as well as the National Archives, over its record requests. He continues to rail against the inquiry as a ‘witch hunt.’
Scalise this spring urged Republicans to vote against establishing a bipartisan commission to probe Jan. 6th. Its failure in the Senate amid a Republican filibuster led to Pelosi’s creation of the select committee.
At a Jan. 6th panel hearing Tuesday night, Cheney tore into Bannon.
‘Based on the committee’s investigation, it appears that Mr. Bannon had substantial advanced knowledge of the plans for January 6 and likely had an important role in formulating those plans,’ Cheney said at the hearing.
Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney accused House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of blocking a bipartisan commission to probe the Jan. 6th Capitol riot and said fellow Republicans don’t want a ‘target on their back’
‘Mr. Bannon was in the war room at the Willard [hotel] on January 6th. He also appears to have detailed knowledge regarding the President’s efforts to sell millions of Americans the fraud that the election was stolen,’ she said.
Cheney appeared at a tense House Rules Committee meeting over a measure to hold former chief White House strategist Steven Bannon in contempt for failing to appear before the select committee.
Cheney brought up McCarthy, who she clashed with repeatedly after he backed an effort to strip away her leadership post following her criticism of former President Trump‘s election overturn effort.
She told fellow Republicans: ‘I ask each one of you to step back from the brink. I urge you to know what is right, to think of the long arc of history. We are told that it bends toward justice. But it does so only because of the actions of men and women in positions of public trust,’ she said.
She brought up the Capitol riot, and told lawmakers in the televised hearing: ‘Will you be able to say you did everything possible to ensure Americans got the truth about those events?’ She called the contempt citation against Bannon ‘crucial to our investigation.’
Cheney has clashed repeatedly with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who helped push her out as the No. 3 GOP leader
President Donald Trump speaks during the ‘Stop the Steal’ rally Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington
She and McCarthy have clashed in the days since Jan. 6th, despite press reports that McCarthy got in a telephone screaming match with Trump while the Capitol was under siege.
In July, McCarthy called Cheney and GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger ‘Pelosi Republicans.’ Cheney called the remark ‘pretty childish.’
Cheney told fellow lawmakers Wednesday: ‘This contempt citation is crucial for our investigation. Witnesses cannot simply ignore congressional subpoenas, when they prefer not to attend. We must do everything possible to understand that dark day in our history, and to ensure to potential legislative and other actions that such a thing never happens again.’
Former President Trump came in with another statement from his Save America PAC slamming Cheney, a day after trashing the late Secretary of State Colin Powell as a ‘RINO.’
‘Low-polling Liz Cheney (19%) is actually very bad news for the Democrats, people absolutely cannot stand her as she fights for the people that have decimated her and her father for many years,’ Trump said. ‘She is a smug fool, and the great State of Wyoming, together with the Republican Party, fully understands her act. To look at her is to despise her. Hopefully she will continue down this unsustainable path and she will soon be gone!’
At the hearing, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) clashed with panel chair Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) over the citation.
‘We have condemned violence every stinking time it happened,’ said Jordan. ‘But it would have been nice if you guys had condemned the violence in the summer of 2020,’ referencing protests that broke out nationwide.
‘I think many of us did condemn it,’ said McGovern.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), like Jordan a Trump loyalist, said ‘all of this is ridiculous.’
He brought up Afghan refugees he said had no vetting, said there was a ‘turnstile’ on the border,’ and ‘supply chain issues.’
‘So many on the left talk about Trump being this savage against our institutions. And that our institutions are all going to fail because of Trump and the insurrectionist Republicans. But truly this is a case of projection. After the 2016 election, Democrats repeatedly called Trump an illegitimate president. They damaged the institution of our electoral process by claiming that Trump was a Russian agent. How phony and fake that all turned out to be.’