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Bannon heeds Trump’s wishes and defies Capitol riot commission subpoena

Bannon heeds Trump’s wishes and defies Capitol riot commission subpoena
Four of Mr Trump’s associates were sent subpoenas by House select committee investigating 6 January

Steve Bannon has heeded the wishes of former President Donald Trump and will defy the subpoena issued by the House committee investigating the 6 January Capitol riot.

CNN initially reported that Mr Bannon has informed the committee that he will not cooperate, nor will he provide relevant documentation, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The same source said Mr Bannon’s response could be characterised as that he “stands with Trump” in regards to the investigation of the violent insurrection.

Confirming that Mr Bannon would not be cooperating, The Washington Post reported the text of a letter from his lawyer to the committee citing the former president’s executive privilege.

“It is therefore clear to us that since the executive privileges belong to President Trump and he has, through his counsel, announced his intention to assert those privileges … we must accept his direction and honour his invocation of executive privilege,” attorney Robert Costello wrote.

Mr Bannon’s response was also confirmed by another source who told CNN that a second of Mr Trump’s inner circle asked to cooperate with the investigation, former chief of staff Mark Meadows, has responded, but it is as yet unknown whether he will or will not cooperate.

Four of Mr Trump’s associates were sent subpoenas by the House select committee. It is not yet known if the other two, Karsh Patel and Dan Scavino, have responded. Mr Patel has suggested to the Post that he may not cooperate and is raising funds for a legal team.

Lawyers working for the former president sent letters to the four men on Wednesday stating that Mr Trump viewed the subpoenas as an infringement of executive privilege and that they should not cooperate.

In not cooperating with the subpoenas, a court battle is likely to follow over whether the objections of a former president can override congressional powers.

“This is a matter of the utmost seriousness and we need to consider the full panoply of enforcement sanctions available to us,” said Democrat Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland, a constitutional law professor who sits on the Select Committee and led the second impeachment of Donald Trump.

“And that means criminal contempt citations, civil contempt citations, and the use of Congress’s own inherent contempt powers,” he continued.

Mr Trump has been heavily critical of the investigation of the events of 6 January that left 140 police officers injured and led to five deaths.

Taylor Budowich, director of communications for the former president, called the committee’s records request “outrageously broad” and said that it lacks “both legal precedent and legislative merit”.

He said in a statement: “Executive privilege will be defended, not just on behalf of President Trump and his administration, but also on behalf of the Office of the President of the United States and the future of our nation.”