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Jan. 6 panel plans contempt vote as Trump sues in an attempt to slow investigation

Steve Bannon Jan. 6 committee
Posted at 1:31 AM, Oct 19, 2021

A House committee tasked with investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot is moving swiftly to hold at least one of Donald Trump’s allies in contempt.

That's happening as the former president is pushing back on the probe in a new lawsuit.

Trump is aggressively trying to block the committee’s work by directing former White House aide Steve Bannon not to answer questions in the probe while also suing the panel to try to prevent Congress from obtaining former White House documents.

On Monday, Trump sued the committee and accused its chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., of harassing him and his allies by sending "an illegal, unfounded, and overbroad records request to the Archivist of the United States."

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C, also criticizes President Joe Biden, who declined to assert executive privilege over the documents.

"In a political ploy to accommodate his partisan allies, President Biden has refused to assert executive privilege over numerous clearly privileged documents requested by the committee," the lawsuit states.

Lawmakers on the House committee say they will not back down as they gather facts and testimony about the attack of Trump’s supporters.

“The former president’s clear objective is to stop the Select Committee from getting to the facts about January 6th and his lawsuit is nothing more than an attempt to delay and obstruct our probe,” said Thompson and Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the panel’s vice chairwoman, in a joint statement late Monday. "It’s hard to imagine a more compelling public interest than trying to get answers about an attack on our democracy and an attempt to overturn the results of an election.”

In a letter obtained by The Associated Press, the White House also worked to undercut Bannon’s argument. Deputy Counsel Jonathan Su wrote that the president’s decision on the documents applied to Bannon, too, and “at this point we are not aware of any basis for your client’s refusal to appear for a deposition.”

“President Biden’s determination that an assertion of privilege is not justified with respect to these subjects applies to your client’s deposition testimony and to any documents your client may possess concerning either subject,” Su wrote to Bannon’s lawyer.