Earlier this year, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) assembled a special committee tasked with investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
Although the committee has recently issued a flurry of subpoenas, at least one Trump-connected figure, Steve Bannon, has said he won’t comply.
According to the Washington Examiner, former Trump administration advisor Steve Bannon has no intention of cooperating with the Jan. 6 committee — a committee that former President Donald Trump and many of his high-profile supporters believe is nothing more than the latest Democrat-led witch hunt.
Bannon is justifying his refusal to comply with the subpoena on the grounds that former President Donald Trump has signaled his intention to invoke executive privilege.
An article by Cornell Law School explains that executive privilege refers to “the power of the President and other officials in the executive branch to withhold certain forms of confidential communication from the courts and the legislative branch.”
The piece goes on to say that while the Constitution makes no mention of executive privilege, it finds its root “in the separation of powers doctrine that divides the power of the United States government into” distinct branches.” However, the privilege is not absolute and courts can compel a president to provide information in some circumstances.
Robert Costello, Bannon’s attorney, laid out Bannon’s case for refusing to comply, which was revealed in a letter quoted by The New York Times.
“It is therefore clear to us that since the executive privileges belong to President Trump, and he has, through his counsel, announced his intention to assert those executive privileges enumerated above, we must accept his direction and honor his invocation of executive privilege,” Costello wrote.
“As such, until these issues are resolved, we are unable to respond to your request for documents and testimony,” Costello explained, adding that Bannon would “comply with the directions of the courts.”
The attorney went on to stress that his client, Bannon, “is legally unable to comply with your subpoena requests for documents and testimony.”
The Times noted that Bannon is only one name on a long list of people connected with the Trump administration who are now facing congressional subpoenas.
Others include former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, former deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino Jr., and Pentagon chief of staff Kash Patel.