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‘Criminal Contempt’: Jan. 6 Committee Slams Bannon for ‘Stonewalling’ and ‘Hiding’ Behind Trump

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The U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack issued a scathing statement announcing it is moving forward to obtain a formal criminal contempt of Congress charge against Steve Bannon after the far right wing political strategist refused to comply with a lawful congressional subpoena.

Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) accused Bannon of “hiding behind the former President’s insufficient, blanket, and vague statements regarding privileges he has purported to invoke.”

“We reject his position entirely,” Chairman Thompson stated. “The Select Committee will not tolerate defiance of our subpoenas, so we must move forward with proceedings to refer Mr. Bannon for criminal contempt.”

Bannon was required to produce documents and present himself to the committee Thursday for a deposition. He refused.

His attorney claims he is protected by Donald Trump’s executive privilege, which the former president does not have. Even if Trump had a right to claim privilege, it would not cover Bannon for several reasons, including that he was not a government employee during the time in question. (Executive privilege does not cover criminal activity, if there was any.)

“The Select Committee will use every tool at its disposal to get the information it seeks, and witnesses who try to stonewall the Select Committee will not succeed,” Thompson warned.

In his statement Thompson explained the process, which includes the Committee meeting and voting on referring Bannon for contempt. The full House would vote on the charges, and assuming passage, “it is the ‘duty’ of the United States Attorney to ‘bring the matter before the grand jury for its action.'”

 

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BREAKING NEWS

Gov. Greg Abbott’s Pick for Top Texas Election Post Worked With Trump to Fight 2020 Results

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Gov. Greg Abbott’s pick for top Texas election post worked with Trump to fight 2020 results” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

Sign up for The Brief, our daily newsletter that keeps readers up to speed on the most essential Texas news.

Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday appointed John Scott — a Fort Worth attorney who briefly represented former President Donald Trump in a lawsuit challenging the 2020 election results in Pennsylvania — as Texas’ new secretary of state.

As secretary of state, Scott would oversee election administration in Texas — a task complicated in recent years by baseless claims of election fraud from Republicans in the highest levels of government fueled by Trump. The former president has filed a flurry of lawsuits nationwide and called for audits in Texas and elsewhere to review the results of the 2020 presidential elections. Trump’s own attorney general, Bill Barr, said there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud nationwide, and in Texas, an official with the secretary of state’s office said the 2020 election was “smooth and secure.”

On Nov. 13, Scott signed on as counsel to a lawsuit filed by Trump attempting to block the certification of Pennsylvania’s election. A few days later, Scott filed a motion to withdraw as an attorney for the plaintiffs. Scott’s motion also asked to withdraw Bryan Hughes, a Texas state senator from Mineola who works for Scott’s law firm, as an attorney for the case.

Scott will eventually have to be confirmed by the Legislature which is not scheduled to meet until 2023. Until then, he’ll serve in as interim secretary of state.

Abbott’s announcement of Scott’s appointment did not mention his work for Trump — even has he has endured mounting pressure from Trump supporters to call for audit elections.

“John Scott is a proven leader with a passion for public service, and his decades of experience in election law and litigation make him the ideal choice for the Texas Secretary of State,” Abbott said in a statement. “John understands the importance of protecting the integrity of our elections and building the Texas brand on an international stage. I am confident that John’s experience and expertise will enhance his oversight and leadership over the biggest and most thorough election audit in the country. I am proud to appoint John as the Texas Secretary of State and look forward to working alongside him to ensure Texas remains the best state in the nation.”

Scott will also be the state’s liaison to Mexico, the state’s biggest trading partner, and will advise Abbott on border and trade affairs.

Abbott’s last two appointments for the top elections position, Ruth R. Hughs and David Whitley, were not confirmed by the Senate. Hughs resigned in May.

Scott has 33 years of legal experience, arguing more than 100 legal cases in state and federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. Working at the attorney general’s office under Abbott, Scott was deputy attorney general for civil litigation, overseeing more than 22,000 lawsuits for the state. He later was appointed chief operating officer of the state’s Health and Human Services Commission where he was in charge of 56,000 employees and a biennial budget of $50 billion.

Scott also has served as board chairman for the Department of Information Resources. He has law offices in Fort Worth and Austin.

Disclosure: Texas Secretary of State has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2021/10/21/john-scott-texas-secretary-state-elections-trump/.

The Texas Tribune is a member-supported, nonpartisan newsroom informing and engaging Texans on state politics and policy. Learn more at texastribune.org.

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Mark Zuckerberg ‘Personally Involved in Decisions Related to Cambridge Analytica’ Says DC Attorney General

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Facebook founder, chairman, CEO, and majority shareholder Mark Zuckerberg was involved with decisions the social media behemoth made involving Cambridge Analytica according to the Attorney General of Washington, D.C., who says he is adding him to a major privacy lawsuit. That could potentially expose the billionaire personally to financial or other penalties.

“I just added Mark Zuckerberg as a defendant in my lawsuit against Facebook,” D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine announced Wednesday via Twitter. “Our continuing investigation revealed that he was personally involved in decisions related to Cambridge Analytica and Facebook’s failure to protect user data.”

The New York Times Wednesday morning adds that Racine “said on Tuesday that continuing interviews and reviews of internal documents for the case had revealed that Mr. Zuckerberg played a much more active role in key decisions than prosecutors had known.”

The privacy lawsuit, first filed in 2018, “alleges that Facebook misled consumers about privacy on the platform by allowing Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm, to obtain sensitive data from more than 87 million users, including more than half the district’s residents,” the Times adds.

A portion of the Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data scandal includes Cambridge Analytica harvesting data of approximately 87 million users and then using it to help the 2016 political campaigns of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.

In 2018 The Times reported that along with other news organizations it had “obtained a cache of documents from inside Cambridge Analytica,” which “proved that the firm, where the former Trump aide Stephen K. Bannon was a board member, used data improperly obtained from Facebook to build voter profiles.”

The shuttered and rebranded and re-shuttered Cambridge Analytica was owned by right-wing donor Robert Mercer, who also reportedly played a key role in the Brexit movement. Mercer was a top Trump donor and major financial supporter of the far right wing website Breitbart.

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FBI Raiding DC Home of Manafort Associate and Russian Oligarch Oleg Deripaska: Reports

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FBI agents are currently raiding the Washington, D.C. home of Russian oligarch and billionaire Oleg Deripaska, who is an associate of convicted felon Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman. Deripaska has ties to Russian president Vladimir Putin.

In 2019 Politico reported that “Two former top staffers to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have lobbied Congress and the Treasury Department on the development of a new Kentucky aluminum mill backed by the Russian aluminum giant Rusal, according to a new lobbying disclosure.” Deripaska is the founder of Rusal.

Image via Wikimedia

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