Nine House Republicans broke ranks Thursday to join all Democrats in voting to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.
While Democrats didn’t need any GOP votes in order to refer the criminal contempt charge to the Justice Department, these Republicans voted in favor of doing so:
- Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming (January 6 committee member)
- Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania
- Rep. Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio
- Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington
- Rep. John Katko of New York
- Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois (January 6 committee member)
- Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina
- Rep. Peter Meijer of Michigan
- Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan
Now that the referral has passed the House, it heads to the Justice Department, which will ultimately decide whether to bring charges that could result in jail time or fines.
Any individual who is found liable for contempt of Congress is then guilty of a crime that may result in a fine and between one and 12 months imprisonment. But this process is rarely invoked and rarely leads to jail time.
As severe as a criminal contempt referral sounds, the House’s choice to use the Justice Department may be more of a warning than a solution. Holding a person in criminal contempt through a prosecution could take years, and historic criminal contempt cases have been derailed by appeals and acquittals.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.
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