Bannon Moves Closer To Contempt In Defying The House Intelligence Committee

downloadI have been critical of the House Democrats on the Intelligence Committee, particularly for their claims of highly sensitive material in the Nunes memo (which turned out to be facially devoid of such material).  However, I believe that the Democrats (and some Republicans) are on solid ground in considering a contempt sanction against former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.  Bannon has refused to answer questions on the grounds of executive privilege but the White House has not asserted executive privilege in prior hearings as far as we can tell. He simply says that he was told not to answer questions. After failing to appear before the Committee or to answer questions previously, Bannon was already looking at a serious possibility of contempt.  He then showed up yesterday with a list of 25 questions that he was prepared to answer “yes” or “no.”  Bannon spent 20 hours with the Special Counsel’s investigators but gave monosyllabic responses to a congressional oversight committee and then refused to answer material questions. That sounds a lot like contempt to me.


Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said that Bannon was instructed to invoke executive privilege in refusing to answer questions.  In a court challenge on such a sweeping claim, the White House would likely lose on many of these material inquiries.  Republicans also appear to have lost patience.  I have previously testified in Congress (here and here) and written about the need for congressional committees to more vigorously enforce their contempt authority (here and here and here and here).

Rep. Trey Gowdy previously stated that he would not accept “yes or no” answers from Bannon. Bannon not only reportedly gave such answers but refused to even give those answers to a host of different questions.

The cavalier attitude of public officials appearing before Congress (not only during this but also prior Administrations) must stop.  Oversight committee are being treated with open contempt. The only question is when they will recognize that treatment as contempt — plain and simple.

71 thoughts on “Bannon Moves Closer To Contempt In Defying The House Intelligence Committee”

  1. The invocation of “privileges” that are not recognized in the law to avoid responding to questions is certainly a form of contempt. However, I agree with mespo. Congress will do nothing about it because that would be, you know, exercising its authority or taking a position or going on the record. Whatever else he may be, Bannon is someone who recognizes spinelessness when he see it. I’m sure he is unconcerned about the committee’s response.

    1. How does Putin explain to the Russian people, spending millions of their dollars to overthrow American democracy?

  2. “Mueller indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities accused of interfering in U.S. elections.”

    The only people left for Mueller to indict are Robert Mueller, his BFF, Comey, McCabe, Rosenstein, Strzok,

    Page, Ohr, Yates, Lynch, Kadzik, Baker, Hillary, Rice, Abedin, Power and the rest of the Obama Gang who

    interfered with the U.S. elections.

    America is waiting for the broad, exhaustive and forthright results of Mueller’s “witch hunt”-cum-conspiracy

    agaisnt President Trump.

    Mueller was a former FBI Director, best friends with Comey and hired by Rosenstein who was doors down from McCabe, Ohr, et al. on the “7th Floor”.

    Of course, Mueller knew the mission he was assigned was subjective, fraudulent and conspiratorial, and Mueller knew there was NO CRIME that he was assigned to investigate by the corrupt co-conspirator, Rosenstein.

    America knows all about Strzok and Page.

    Are we to believe that Mueller, Rosenstein, McCabe, Comey, Ohr, Yates, Lynch, Kadzik, Baker, Hillary, Rice, Abedin, Power, Farkas and the rest of the Obama Gang “knew nothing” about the coups d’etat in America?

    America awaits Mueller’s “integrity”.

    Washington Examiner –

    “Strzok and Page worked on the Clinton probe together, and were also engaged in an extramarital affair.

    In one exchange between the two, Page texted Strzok in August 2016 that he was “meant to protect the country from that menace,” and linked to an article about then-presidential nominee Donald Trump’s so-called “enablers.”

    “Of course I’ll try and approach it that way. I just know it will be tough at times. I can protect our country at many levels, not sure if that helps,” Strzok replied.

    On July 1, 2016 — four days before then-FBI Director James Comey announced no criminal charges would be brought against Clinton — then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch said she would follow the FBI’s recommendation. Page messaged Strzok that “it’s a real profile in [courage], since she knows no charges will be brought.”

    “Potus wants to know everything we’re doing,” Page texted Strzok on Sept. 2, 2016. That text was in reference Comey, who had been preparing talking points for former President Obama regarding the probe into the former secretary of state.

    Text messages from late September 2016 also raise concerns about when senior FBI officials learned that there were emails related to Clinton on the laptop of Huma Abedin’s husband, former Congressman Anthony Weiner.

    “Got called up to Andy’s earlier … hundreds of thousands of emails turned over by Weiner’s atty to sdny, includes a ton of material from spouse. Sending team up tomorrow to review… this will never end…” Srzok wrote to Page.

    On Oct. 21, 2016, Strzok again told Page that Deputy Assistant Attorney General George Toscas became aware of the new Clinton emails — a week before Comey told Congress the FBI was reopening its probe because of the emails found on Weiner’s laptop.

    “[T]he American presidential election, and thus, the state of the world, actually hangs in the balance,” Page said in a message to Strzok on Nov. 4, 2016 as the FBI finished its review of the emails on Weiner’s computer.

    Strzok and Page were later assigned to special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, who was appointed on May 17, 2017, to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign,

    The two discussed the possibility of joining the team just two days prior, with Strzok telling Page he had a “sense of unfinished business“ and called the probe an “investigation leading to impeachment?”

    The two also lambasted Trump on multiple occasions, including on Election Day when Page wrote, “OMG THIS IS F***KING TERRIFYING.”

    Strzok responded, “Omg, I am so depressed.”

    “I bought all the president’s men. Figure I need to brush up on watergate,” Page later replied.

    The last message between the two came on June 23, 2017, when Page told Strzok, “Please don’t ever text me again.”

    1. Now for the rest of the story:

      Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein: “There is no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity. There is no allegation that the charge conduct altered the outcome of the election.”

      1. The indictment is available via the article that I posted, as is this — echoing your comment:

        “Mr. Rosenstein said repeatedly that the indictment does not allege that the Russian operation changed the outcome of the presidential election.

        “Even though the Russians recruited and paid Americans to help them stage political rallies and promote political candidates, he said, the indictment also does not allege that any of the Americans knowingly conspired with the Russian operation.

        “There is no allegation in this indictment that any American had any knowledge,” he said.”

        So — just to be clear — the “rest of the story” is contained in the linked NY Times article.

        But, thanks.

          1. Olly,…
            – The headline was all that I saw…went to open the link, and the NY Times “offer to subscribe” ad blocked the article, with no way to “x out” the ad.
            I was going to check to see if any of the Russians indicted were sources for the Steele “Russian Dossier”, given the headline’s that the indictments are for “2016 Election Interfence”.

            1. Eight articles a month is the limit, unless you subscribe, so that may be why you couldn’t “x out the ad.”

            2. Tom,
              The statement by Mueller telling the “rest of the story” is buried 16 paragraphs deep. The point being that it comes as no surprise a foreign government would have an operation to meddle in our elections. What all readers should have been made aware immediately (para. 1) is that no American wittingly helped or that any of it changed the election results. To be more accurate, the headline should have read “attempted interference.” given that none of their efforts impacted the outcome of the election.

              1. Many people skim, Olly, and that article can be skimmed very quickly. The portion that I pulled out is at the very end of the article. It’s hard to miss it. The article is a very quick read. And “the rest of the story” certainly isn’t “buried,” but “distort” if you must.

                1. The headline distorted the truth in the article. That’s where the truth should begin. If anything, the first paragraph should reveal the truth after the click-bait drove the reader into the article. So leaving the headline out there is enabling the distortion of the truth.

          2. Yeah, it’s pretty tough to just click and read the article. Or to google another source for “the rest of the story.”

              1. Tom,

                I agree that the NY Times certainly isn’t generous. The new limit is five — since December of last year. It was 10, I gather, prior to that time. (I was mistaken about it being eight.)

                The Washington Post’s limit is 20, which seems much more reasonable.

                1. I got a nuisamce call “offer to subscribe” about 17-18 years ago.
                  I asked the gal if the NY Times had other “major league” writers like Adam Clymer….I don’t think she got the joke.

                  1. @Tom

                    Maybe you had the ear of someone who’s just struggling to pay her bills, feed her kids — who knows — but your “joke” was obviously lost on her. I guess you gotta know your audience, or you’re probably just wasting your breath.

            1. Not tough at all. I was able to open the article and verify it with other sources. Of course you originally felt no need to address the misleading headline. Now that was pretty tough.

              1. Olly, people are busy. I quickly posted the link so that anyone who hadn’t seen the news, yet, might read about it. The burden isn’t on me to fill in blanks for the lazy. You might have all day to hang out here, but I don’t. Nor do I want to.

      2. Key words are “this indictment”. Grand jury can not be fired by T rump. More to follow.

  3. “All the Federales say
    They could have had him any day
    They only let him slip away
    Out of kindness, I suppose”

  4. While I do write that JT likes to pick nat crap out of pepper when it comes to anything about the incompetence of Trump and his gang, even he understands that the walls are closing around them.

    1. These walls have been closing in since before the election. At this rate, President Trump will have built a wall on the southern border long before the Democrats close theirs, if ever.

      1. Don’t hold your breath Olly. As a Navy man, you know a ship can only take so much water.

        1. As a Navy man, you know a ship can only take so much water.

          I also know if the ship has enough water-tight integrity to remain onboard. What is more reassuring is to know that this is not a 1-ship Navy.

            1. You should have quit while you were behind. Now you just sound like a partisan idiot. Of course the VP and Speaker of the House would disagree with you; as well as the remainder of the executive branch that remain honorable in their service to this country.

        2. “Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) agreed to…give details on their investigation into Trump-Russia collusion, which is almost over. We still have to hear from Special Counsel Robert Mueller on the same topic. Meantime, the Intel committee also unearthed allegedly improper, politically-motivated “unmaskings.” Obama officials requested the “unmasking” of the names of hundreds of US citizens who were supposedly “accidentally” captured in government surveillance. The names are supposed to be strictly protected for privacy reasons but some of them, including political enemies of the Obama administration and Clinton campaign, were leaked to the press in a derogatory way. The committee is also looking into alleged conflicts of interest and unethical behavior by some at the FBI and Justice Department.”

          – Attkisson

  5. Off topic: I haven’t opened the Stormy post yet but what’s the over/under on the number of times Ken posts to that story? He seems to have a teenager’s obsession with stories like that and no doubt he’ll leave his mark on this one as well.

  6. The investigation seems to be just a game to Mr Bannon, and maybe also to the rest of the world. Russian interference in US elections is not taken seriously without evidence of official Russian involvement. The world knows that the US has taken control of numerous foreign elections, besides engaging in coups, assassinations, and illegal wars. Applying laws to some and not others removes the legitimacy of the laws.

    1. the big angle that dems and their media flunkies fail to appreciate, is that HILLARY attempted to collude with Russians by having this Chris steele charlatan buy their disinformation and wrongfully propagate it to the FBI which in turn misused it to spy on Trump campaign in a twisted exagerration of watergate style snooping using electronic means now.

      and the Russians succeeded in tampering with our election because Hillary and her stay behind team at FBI have Trumped up the phony collusion narrative against Trump in their failed attempt to undermine his electoral legitimacy…..

      but which in the long game DOES succeed in undermining the legitimacy of the American electoral system but not though FB bots but through Hillary’s corruption and endemic infestation of the Deep State!

      or one might as, was it undermining, or just exposing corruption? the corruption and mischief came in the end only because HILLARY and her stay behind team Sztrock et al. intended it.

      THAT is the prosecution that should be happening now. LOCK THEM UP

    2. The US took control of the 1960 U.S. election by removing JFK from office post facto.

      J. Edgar Hoover, FBI Director, invested millions with the Texas oilmen at whose home he had dinner in Dallas on the eve of the JFK assassination. Subsequently, hundreds of 302’s were rewritten and altered to support the Oswald-as-lone-gunman theory to the Warren Commission (Also on the Warren Commission and attending the assassination eve dinner was Alan Dulles, CIA, who was fired by JFK then hired by LBJ to investigate JFK’s assassination – that’s just rude – small world, huh?).

      That FBI, it’s always working for America.

    3. Crispy Bacon said, ” Russian interference in US elections is not taken seriously without evidence of official Russian involvement.”

      What a difference a day makes–eh Crispy?

      1. “Mueller established the What -with proof. Next, is the Who, When, Where and How.” (quoted from a commenter at another site.)

  7. With Congresses approval rating loitering in the teens, they couldn’t swing a dead cat without hitting someone with contempt for Congress.

    So what’s the ramifications for Bannon to be declared in contempt? Unemployable? I doubt that since Holder was hired by the state of California. Okay, not a great example. Seriously, doesn’t Congress still need the DOJ to put teeth in the charge?

  8. Holder was held in Contempt of Congress for the Fast Furious (and Foolish) fiasco. Now he’s in federal prison busting rocks and wearing sack cloth and ashes. Oh wait …. Congress is a paper tiger … er … make that paper pussy cat.

  9. True but the hilarious part was Schiff saying he would do this and do that as if he had any say or input or pwer in the matter on having Bannon charged or something really gave the points of the day to Bannon and Schiff made himself look very very foolish.

    As to answering yes or no the extent of someones answer is up the witness. Too many time I’ve seem lawyers and judges cut off testimoy before truth, whole truth and nothing but the truth was reached.

    One of the reasons Juries among other jobs also judge the law and the judge. wwho is really nothing more than a referee of sorts.

    1. Tha’ts calle ‘fully informed jury and in my experience on jury duty the jury was poorly served until time came for the verdict and then it was payback time

  10. Yes. I can vividly recall how transparent, honest, forthcoming and open Hillary behaved as she was questioned and grilled. A real sight to behold. The rolling of the eyes, the look of utter contempt and disgust, the unwillingness to answer with any degree of honesty or integrity. . .but, please, let’s concentrate on Bannon. . .he’s unique. . .special. . .

    1. “but whatabout, whatabout, whatabout”, false assertions to offset the seriousness of real crimes, is not persuasive.

      1. Try to follow. . .I know, it’s tough for you, but try. . .if there is going to be an honest and unbiased discussion, regarding the ability to be cooperative, forthright and truthful, when individuals are questioned by these various panels and committees, then, let’s just call them as we see them. Honestly. Truthfully. There can be no discussion or condemnation of Bannon, for his, alleged, lack of cooperation and transparency, without a discussion and condemnation of Hillary’s antics, when she acted like a petulant child during questioning–the reluctance and refusal to answer questions fully and completely, the resting of her head on her open palm, elbow on the table, the incessant rolling of her eyes, the moving around in her seat, the repeated farting. . .shall I continue? It’s not a, “what about him” and “what about her”. . .it’s called, instead, treating all fairly. It’s called, instead, using the same barometer for all. To let that b#!ch, slide, for her antics, by refusing to even address her obscene behavior, while condemning Bannon, for, appearing to be, less than cooperative, just shows your inability to be objective, honest and fair, across the board.

    2. Fake News. Next. The ALL CAPS is really, really, really convincing, though.

      this is to “I have my own opinion, as well as my own facts” kurtzie

  11. There is no disincentive to being held in contempt of Congress. The final proof of this suggestion will be if an ordinary person refuses to comply with a committee’s subpoena.

    If Congress is not even willing to go after a powerless and unconnected citizen, something I would otherwise expect when paired with indifference toward prosecuting offending politicians, then Congress will truly then show that it is nothing more than a paper tiger.

    1. Which they are by their own choice. Congress abdicaed those responsibilities when they set up the fourth branch system but for the miority nothing to threaten something or another was ridiculous.

      1. Excerpted from the article linked above:

        The first sign of a potential plea deal came earlier this month, when it was reported that Gates’ defense lawyers had pulled out of representing him against Mueller.

        Gates’ former lawyers filed the request on February 1, according to a court document. The reason for their withdrawal was not immediately known, but the document cited information that is currently the subject of a motion which remains under court seal.

        A Gates plea deal, however, could spell trouble for Manafort, who has pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against him. Indeed, CNN reported that Gates has already had what’s known as a “Queen for a Day” interview with the special counsel, which involves answering any questions from investigators, including those asked about his own case and other possible criminal activity he may have witnessed.

        1. How much longer can Paul Manafort hold out before he cops a plea with Mueller, too?

          1. Oh! I forgot. If Gates finalizes his plea agreement, he will become the third witness cooperating with Mueller. If Weissman uses Gates to flip Manafort, then the OSC would have four cooperating witnesses. So. Yes. By all means, let’s talk about citing Sloppy Steve Bannon for contempt of Congress, instead.

          1. Yeah! Mueller, Comey, McCabe, Rosenstein, Strzok, Page, Ohr, Yates, Lynch, Kadzik, Baker, HIllary and the rest of the Obama Gang.

      1. “All the Federales say
        They could have had him any day
        They only let him slip away
        Out of kindness, I suppose”

Comments are closed.

Res ipsa loquitur – The thing itself speaks
%d bloggers like this: