House Republicans to back Bannon with amicus briefs, underscore illegitimacy of Jan. 6 committee

House Republicans are finally throwing their weight behind Trump ally and “War Room” host Stephen K. Bannon and his emergency appeals to stay out of jail for defying the Jan. 6 committee’s subpoenas.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and other House GOP leaders on the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group successfully voted Tuesday to file a brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in support of Bannon.

Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) will also be filing an amicus brief but instead with the U.S. Supreme Court as chair of the House Administration Subcommittee on Oversight in support of Bannon’s emergency appeal.

The line of argumentation in the briefs may not only persuade the high court to spare Bannon from prison but could possibly also ramify for other American prisoners.

Loudermilk’s committee is also
reportedly crafting legislation aimed at nullifying the work of the Jan. 6 committee.

Christopher Bedford, senior editor for politics and Washington correspondent for Blaze Media, said, “It’s great to see the work the committee is putting in here, and this sort of thing probably has more ability to spare Bannon prison time than the attempt to withdraw the subpoena (something that’s only been done once — by the same committee that issued the subpoena, and before charges were brought).”

Background

Bannon was
convicted in July 2022 of two charges of contempt of Congress for defying subpoenas from the Democrat-controlled House select committee tasked with investigating the Jan. 6 protests. He was sentenced to four months in prison.

While Carl Nichols, the Trump-nominated judge overseeing Bannon’s case in Washington, D.C., initially paused his sentence while the populist appealed his conviction, a D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals panel later rejected Bannon’s challenges, prompting partisan prosecutors to urge Nichols to send Bannon to prison.

Earlier this month, Bannon was
ordered to report to prison by July 1. He had, however, two more arrows left in his quiver: an appeal to a full panel of the D.C. Court of Appeals or the U.S. Supreme Court.

The first arrow missed its mark.

On June 20, Biden and Obama judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit voted 2-1 against keeping Bannon out of jail while he exhausted his legal options.

Blaze News
previously reported that Trump-nominated Judge Justin Walker, who cast the lone vote against denying Bannon’s emergency motion, noted in his dissenting opinion that Bannon’s key argument could potentially succeed before the Supreme Court.

An appeal to the high court

Bannon
filed an appeal to the Supreme Court on Friday.

The filing underscored that the stakes were high and noted, “Now that a panel of the D.C. Circuit has said that
Licavoli remains binding, there is no obstacle to future indictments of anyone and everyone who allegedly defaults on a congressional subpoena, even when they had good faith defenses like advice of counsel or executive privilege — defenses that Licavoli will bar them even from presenting to a jury.”

In his defense, Bannon previously suggested he had not responded to the subpoenas on the basis of both advice of counsel and executive privilege.

“In the future, when the House or Senate and the Executive Branch are controlled by the same party, there is every reason to fear that former Executive Branch officials will face prison after declining to provide privileged materials to a committee, even where the position taken was based upon the advice of counsel in good faith and requested further negotiations,” added the filing.

Bannon’s attorney further argued that the Biden Department of Justice’s recent decisions to ignore congressional subpoenas demonstrate “both the significance of the
mens rea issue as a matter of law and also the illogic of preventing Mr. Bannon from even arguing to the jury that his reliance on advice of counsel undermined the government’s case for ‘willfulness.'”

The DOJ is set to file a brief with the Supreme Court Wednesday demanding the Trump critic’s immediate jailing.

House Republicans act

Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) leaned on Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) to spearhead a legal effort to support Bannon’s emergency appeal.

Banks
noted in a Monday letter to the speaker that “several factors separate the Committee’s illegitimate and unenforceable subpoenas [to Bannon and Peter Navarro] from lawfully issued congressional subpoenas.”

“As you know, the Committee is the first and only congressional committee in history composed on entirely partisan lines,” continued Banks.

‘The January 6 committee was, we think, wrongfully constituted. We think the work was tainted.’

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (Calif.) Jan. 6 committee
rejected then-GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy’s proposed committee members, prompting McCarthy to pull his members and boycott the panel. The committee ultimately had no GOP-appointed ranked minority member.

“Furthermore, the Committee repeatedly violated House Rules and its own charter, House Resolution 503, including provisions limiting its deposition authority,” wrote Banks.

In addition to the likelihood of its illegitimacy, Banks noted that thanks to the work of Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), “We now know that the Committee deleted hundreds of records shortly before the 118th Congress and the start of the House Republican majority. This willful destruction of evidence violates House Rules, and because the improperly destroyed documents potentially included evidence of the Committee’s misconduct, they could have assisted either Mr. Bannon’s or Mr. Navarro’s defenses during future appeals.”

Banks underscored to Johnson that an amicus brief filed filed on behalf of the chamber in support of Bannon’s appeal would have his full support.

Johnson
confirmed on Fox News and CNN Tuesday night that the House was working on an amicus brief in support of Bannon’s appeal.

“The January 6 committee was, we think, wrongfully constituted. We think the work was tainted. We think that they may have very well covered up evidence and maybe even more nefarious activities,” said Johnson. “We will be expressing that to the court and I think it will help Steve Bannon in his appeal.”

Johnson
noted in a joint statement with Republican Reps. Steve Scalise (La.) and Tom Emmer (Minn.) Wednesday morning that the amicus brief will be “submitted after Bannon files a petition for rehearing en banc and will be in support of neither party.”

“It will withdraw certain arguments made by the House earlier in the litigation about the organization of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol during the prior Congress. House Republican Leadership continues to believe Speaker Pelosi abused her authority when organizing the Select Committee,” added Johnson.

The Daily Caller
reported that Loudermilk was planning to file an amicus brief with the Supreme Court Wednesday morning, emphasizing the Jan. 6 committee lacked the authority to conduct depositions under the House resolution that authorized it.

Loudermilk’s office told the Caller that the brief indicated that the Jan. 6 committee held Bannon in contempt for “failing to appear for a deposition,” which it was not able to conduct for lack of a ranking member to notify.

“While Nancy Pelosi and Liz Cheney’s two year inquisition may have entertained the media and kept numerous Democrat lawyers busy, it had very real world implications, which we see in the imprisonment of Peter Navarro and Steve Bannon,” Loudermilk told the Caller.

“We’re in uncharted constitutional waters here. Congress’s ability to compel people to appear before it is long-established, but has been eroding since Eric Holder refused to enforce a subpoena against himself. The ability to moot a contempt charge after the fact is hard going, but the ability to convince the court the committee itself was illegitimate? That could be easier,” Christopher Bedford told Blaze News.

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