Biden Thinks DOJ Should Prosecute People Who Refuse Jan. 6 Subpoenas

As lawmakers battle over Steve Bannon's refusal to testify, President Joe Biden stated Friday that he believes the Department of Justice should pursue anyone who refuses subpoenas from the House committee investigating January 6 riot.

Before introducing Roy Moore, Republican Senate Candidate, Steve Bannon speaks at a campaign event in Fairhope (Alabama) on December 5, 2017. Getty Images

The Key Facts

Biden stated Friday evening that he hopes the Capitol riot select committee holds those who don't comply with subpoenas responsible. CNN's Kaitlan Collins asked Biden if the DOJ should pursue uncooperative witnesses. This was after he informed Congress last week that he would not hand over documents or testify in front of the committee. He cited former President Donald Trump's claim that Congress should keep secret the information they seek due to executive privilege.

Important Quote

Biden stated Friday night that he hoped the committee would pursue them and hold them accountable.

What to Watch

The House of Representatives will vote on the recommendation of the select committee to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress. The lawmakers could refer Bannon to federal prosecutors to face criminal charges. However, the DOJ has previously argued that it is free to decide whether or not to pursue criminal action.

Surprising Fact

Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary, declined to comment on contempt Thursday. She told reporters that it was between the select committee and the Department of Justice. This independent agency would not make any of these decisions.

Important Background

The January 6 committee, which includes seven Democrats and two Republicans, has subpoenaed several Trump associates and officials. This was to investigate both the immediate aftermath of the Capitol riot as well as Trump's attempts to reverse his election loss. They have subpoenaed former White House Chief Of Staff Mark Meadows, Jeffrey Clark from the DOJ and many others involved in pro-Trump rallies that were held prior to the riot. They are also looking for documents from Trump's era, including communications from January 6, and information on Trump's baseless allegations of voter fraud.

Chief Critic

Trump has repeatedly attacked the committee, arguing that many records sought by lawmakers are protected under executive privilege. This legal doctrine allows presidents to keep certain information confidential. Biden did not invoke executive privilege last week to stop a first round of documents from Trump's administration being sent to Congress.


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