Nine House Republicans broke ranks Thursday to join Democrats in the vote to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the select committee investigating the Jan.6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Committee members said the panel believes Bannon has extensive knowledge of the planning around the attack.
While Democrats did not need GOP votes to send the criminal contempt charge back to the Justice Department, these Republicans voted to do so:
- Rep. Liz Cheney from Wyoming (January 6 committee member)
- Representative Brian Fitzpatrick from Pennsylvania
- Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez
- Washington Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler
- Representative John Katko from New York
- Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Jan. 6 committee member)
- Representative Nancy Mace from South Carolina
- Representative Peter Meijer from Michigan
- Representative Fred Upton from Michigan
Now that the referral has passed the House, it is heading to the Justice Department, which will ultimately decide whether to lay charges that could result in jail time or fines.
Anyone found guilty of contempt of Congress is then guilty of a felony that can result in a fine and between one and 12 months in prison. But this process is rarely invoked and rarely leads to prison terms.
As serious as a referral for criminal contempt may seem, the House’s choice to go to the Department of Justice may be more of a warning than a solution. It could take years to keep someone in criminal contempt in prosecution, and historic cases of criminal contempt have been derailed with appeals and acquittals.
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