(PatriotWise.com)- The House January 6 investigating committee is hoping that Steve Bannon, a one-time advisor to former President Donald Trump, is held liable for his refusal to cooperate with their subpoena.
That’s unlikely to happen, though, according to Kevin McCarthy, the leader of the Republican Party in the lower chamber. McCarthy nominated members of the GOP to the January 6 committee but then withdrew them after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declined two of his choices.
This week, McCarthy argued in court documents that the efforts to convict Bannon of a crime should be invalid because the House panel doesn’t have the required number of members.
In a legal briefing he filed with the presiding judge in Bannon’s contempt of Congress case, U.S. District Court judge Carl Nichols, McCarthy wrote:
“It is undisputed that the Speaker of the House failed to appoint 13 Members to the Select Committee. Failure of the House Speaker to ‘appoint 13 Members to the Select Committee’ deprives the Select Committee of its competence and no criminal prosecution arising from conduct (or lack thereof) before the Select Committee can lie.”
McCarthy filed this brief in conjunction with Steve Scalise, the GOP whip in the House. The House minority leader is actually facing a decision of his own on whether to comply with a subpoena the House investigating committee sent him recently.
To this point, he hasn’t indicated whether he would comply with it. This brief, though, as Politico reports, would seem to suggest he believes the subpoenas are invalid.
McCarthy said he decided to file the brief in this case because House Democrats decided to submit one in support of Bannon’s conviction.
On May 10, Pelosi herself said that the brief was filed so the House could defend itself against the contention from Bannon that the committee was constituted improperly.
In the filing, Doug Letter, the House counsel, wrote:
“[Bannon’s] attacks against the validity of the subpoena are deeply flawed: They ignore the deference that a court owes the House regarding the meaning and application of its own rules and procedures.”
What the GOP is arguing is the text of the resolution that established the select committee in the first place. That resolution read that Pelosi “shall appoint 13 Members to the Select Committee, 5 of whom shall be appointed after consultation with [McCarthy].”
The obviously didn’t happen, though. Pelosi ended up rejecting two of the minority leader’s choices — Jim Jordan from Ohio and Jim Banks from Indiana, though she did agree to the other three.
McCarthy withdrew those appointees in a sign of protest, which Democrats then described as “the Minority Leader’s failure to continue the consultation process.”
Pelosi’s argument is that the panel is only operating with nine members because of the decision McCarthy made. And, as a result, it should still be considered to be valid.
McCarthy is making the argument, though, that the committee had to operate with 13 members, per the resolution that established it. And since it isn’t, everything they do shouldn’t be considered valid.