Rep. Liz Cheney warned Trump aides that if they ignore subpoenas issued by the House select committee investigating the Capitol riot on January 6th, the panel “will move” criminal contempt charges against them.
Cheney (R-WY), one of only two GOP members serving on the committee, said the entire panel is in agreement with the move.
“In general, people are going to have to appear, or, you know, we will move contempt charges against them,” she told reporters at the U.S. Capitol.
The committee investigating the event surrounding the Capitol riot issued subpoenas to four former aides to President Donald Trump in late September.
Those receiving subpoenas for documents and testimony include former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, former communications official Dan Scavino, and former Defense Department official Kash Patel.
Liz Cheney’s threat of criminal contempt charges for any Trump aides who defy the committee’s subpoenas echo comments previously made by other panel members.
Committee member Adam Schiff (D-CA) previously warned that any of the Trump allies who do not comply with the subpoenas will be guilty of “criminal contempt.”
On Sunday, Schiff said the panel was “prepared to go forward and urge the Justice Department to criminally prosecute anyone who does not do their lawful duty.”
The committee also singled out Bannon for criminal contempt if he doesn’t appear for a deposition slated for Thursday.
A report surfaced earlier this month claiming all four of the Trump aides were prepared to ignore or openly defy the subpoenas issued by the January 6 committee.
The former President’s aides, supposedly at Trump’s direction, were said to be prepared to defy the subpoenas based on executive privilege grounds.
“We will fight the subpoenas on executive privilege and other grounds, for the good of our Country,” Trump wrote in a statement.
Mark Meadows and Kash Patel are scheduled to have their depositions later this week and Cheney says the committee will be prepared.
“We’ll see if they show up. If they show up, we’ll be prepared,” she said.
Legal experts have openly wondered whether or not the Biden Justice Department would get involved if those subpoenaed ignore the orders to provide documents or depositions.
Former federal prosecutor Mark Osler questioned how any action by the DOJ would be perceived as Biden has vowed to eliminate politics from the department.
“That’s going to be something that will be considered at the highest levels at DOJ, and what they’re going to consider with any referral like that is how strong of a case is it, and even if it’s readily provable — how important is it that we do this?” he speculated.
Cheney, serving as one of two ‘Never Trump’ Republicans on the committee, said she’s been privately encouraged by colleagues to keep attacking President Trump and his supporters.
The Wyoming Republican is facing a primary challenge from Harriet Hageman, an attorney who received an endorsement from Trump in her bid to replace who he called a “warmonger and disloyal Republican, Liz Cheney.”
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