On January 6, the panel prepares to pressure the Justice Department to take action on a subpoena by dodging Trump allies

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Unsurprisingly, Democrats on the Jan.6 committee are already anticipating Bannon’s challenge and are starting to push for the support they’ll need from Garland’s Justice Department to pressure Bannon if they make a criminal dismissal.

“We are ready to go ahead and urge the justice ministry to criminally prosecute anyone who does not do their legitimate duty,” he added. said Representative Adam Schiff from California, panel member, Sunday on CBS. Schiff’s comments follow a joint statement on Friday Representatives Bennie Thompson and Liz Cheney, the chair and vice-chair of the committee, pledging to “promptly consider bringing criminal contempt of referral to Congress” for anyone who defies their subpoenas.

On Tuesday morning, Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland, another member of the January 6 panel, reiterated the obvious: “The law applies to everyone, including former presidents and including friends of former presidents who facilitate incitement to violent insurgency against the union. “

Bannon, in particular, is making a laughable claim for executive privilege, despite the fact that Donald Trump is no longer in office and Bannon was not even a White House official at the time of the Jan.6 insurgency. In fact, Bannon had not worked in the White House since 2017 and is the only one of four subpoenaed Trump aides who was not working for the administration during the siege on Capitol Hill. The other helpers defying subpoenas so far include former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and former Pentagon aide Kash Patel. Former White House communications assistant Dan Scavino was not subpoenaed until Friday, and it is still unclear how he plans to respond.

Bannon’s lawyer claimed in a letter to the Jan. 6 panel that executive privileges “belong to Trump.” They don’t really do it. Even if Bannon had been an administration official at the time of the attempted coup – which he was not – the power to claim executive privilege would rest with incumbent President Joe Biden, and he has relinquished this power.

But the facts are irrelevant. “We will comply with the direction of the courts, when and if they rule on these claims of executive and solicitor-client privileges,” wrote Bannon’s attorney, Robert Costello.

But the question here is not the law – it is whether the Department of Justice is prepared to fully harness its power in the name of justice and save American democracy. And whatever Attorney General Garland decides to do in Bannon’s case, it will set the tone for how other Trump advisers choose to respond to January 6 subpoenas.

“There are a number of things prosecutors need to think about,” former US prosecutor Barbara McQuade Recount The hill. “One is, what’s the deterrent effect of bringing a case here in light of the history of the Trump administration, allies and others who don’t care about congressional subpoenas and the blockade? here compelling arguments to bring criminal charges, “she said.

Unfortunately, as McQuade notes, Garland has not been particularly aggressive in matters relating to the separation of powers since taking over at the Department of Justice.

“So I don’t know if he’s going to be terribly aggressive here, ”McQuade.

For the sake of our democracy, let’s hope McQuade crystal ball is on the fritz. History is calling, Attorney General Garland, and it’s time to answer that call.

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