Before the House voted on whether to hold former White House adviser Steve Bannon in criminal contempt for refusing to comply with a subpoena on Thursday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., argued that the subpoena is "invalid," during a press conference.
The House select panel that is probing the events surrounding the Capitol attack on Jan. 6 voted earlier this week to hold Bannon in criminal contempt of Congress due to his refusal to comply with their subpoena. Bannon claimed through an attorney that "executive privilege" protects some communications with the executive branch, an argument that has been questioned by legal experts since Bannon was no longer working within the executive branch during the time of the events.
Bannon’s lawyer argued that "the executive privileges belong to President Trump," according to CNN, and "we must accept his direction and honor his invocation of executive privilege."
"Issuing invalid subpoena weakens our power, not if somebody votes against it," McCarthy said on Thursday, according to the Washington Examiner.
He went on to say that Bannon "has the right to go to the court to see if he has the executive privilege or not."
"I don’t know if he does or not, but neither does the committee," McCarthy said. "So, they’re weakening the power of Congress itself by issuing invalid subpoenas."
When asked why the subpoena is invalid, McCarthy cited the blocking of some of his nominees to the panel by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who instead selected Republican Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.
Cheney said on Tuesday during a panel meeting that "it appears that Mr. Bannon had substantial advance knowledge of the plans for January 6th and likely had an important role in formulating those plans," and added that "the American people are entitled to Mr. Bannon's first-hand testimony about all of these relevant facts."
She also said, "the plain fact here is that Mr. Bannon has no legal right to ignore the committee's lawful subpoena."
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