January 6 Commission: Consequences at Last


January 6th Insurrection | Photo Credit: Tyler Merbler via Wiki commons

Steve Bannon speaking at the 2017 CPAC in National Harbor, Maryland | Photo Credit: Gadge Skidmore

When rioters stormed the capitol building earlier this year, America got a wake-up call about the state of our politics. It was a day that brought death, violence and disruption to the halls of American government and undermined the peaceful transfer of power. And it was all started by the sycophants of the Trump administration. Though they have left office, they are not beyond consequences.

The January 6 Commission, first proposed in February by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has been investigating months’ worth of material about the attack on the capitol and who helped precipitate the violence. Its stated purpose is to “report on the facts and causes relating to the January 6, 2021, domestic terrorist attack upon the United States Capitol Complex…” It has, however, expanded beyond that narrow framework.

As the investigation has progressed, more political figures have come under scrutiny. On Friday, October 8, commission officials announced that Steve Bannon, a former advisor to President Trump, defied congressional subpoenas and is now facing charges of contempt of Congress. The consequences could be dire for Bannon, who attempts to claim executive privilege as his main defense against the commission’s demands. If the commission decides to pursue charges, he could face criminal punishment from the Justice Department.

And it appears that the committee is going to pursue that route. In a statement to Roll Call, Representatives Bennie Thompson and Liz Cheney warned that defying their subpoenas would not be tolerated, saying, “Though the Select Committee welcomes good-faith engagement with witnesses seeking to cooperate with our investigation, we will not allow any witness to defy a lawful subpoena or attempt to run out the clock, and we will swiftly consider advancing a criminal contempt of Congress referral…”

Donald Trump | Photo Credit: Michael Vadon via Wiki Commons

The response is becoming increasingly common for the commission, as it faces off against Trump and his allies, who are trying desperately to avoid being required to testify. Trump himself has faced the commission’s inquiry, requesting a trove of documents from him in August. He attempted to deny them, but President Biden has since prevented Trump from blocking access to the sealed documents in the National Archives. In other words, attempts to obfuscate the investigation have come up short, and as the investigation develops further, the room for stalling becomes less and less.

In response, Trump has allegedly encouraged his allies to ignore congressional subpoenas despite their legal strength. Still, many of his allies are ignoring this or are feigning ignorance to the demand. Former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and former advisor, Kash Patel, are, in all likelihood, going to testify, making Trump’s ability to limit the investigation even weaker. Bannon’s own defense is falling apart as well, as the Biden administration’s decision to block claims of executive privilege will almost certainly undermine the former advisor’s position.

While it is unclear what will happen from here, one thing is for certain, Trump and his allies will have a lot to answer for in the coming months. And if their current defenses are anything to judge by, their answers will indict them more than Congress ever could. And if there is any justice in the world, they will all pay for that horrible day.