The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot announced Thursday it will move to hold former Trump adviser Stephen Bannon in criminal contempt for defying its subpoena, The Washington Post reports.
"The Select Committee will use every tool at its disposal to get the information it seeks, and witnesses who try to stonewall the Select Committee will not succeed," said Chair Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) in a statement. Bannon did not show up for a deposition before the committee on Thursday, writes Axios, making this "the first major test" of how the committee will handle uncooperative witnesses.
Thompson said he notified the rest of the panel that "we will convene for a business meeting Tuesday evening to vote on adopting a contempt report."
So what happens now?
Well, first, the committee must vote Tuesday to approve the contempt charge. After that, the measure goes to the House for a separate vote. If passed, the "the contempt referral would then be sent to the Justice Department," where it would be up to Attorney General Merrick Garland to decide whether to criminally prosecute Bannon for defying the congressional subpoena, explains the Post.
On that front, NBC News' justice correspondent Pete Williams expects the Department of Justice to act "pretty promptly" should they receive the referral from the House. "I would think Congress will act very quickly and then the U.S. attorney will act within, I would think, a matter of days," Williams said on MSNBC.
If the contempt prosecution is successful, Bannon could face incarceration, a fine, or both, writes the Post; however, it is worth noting that "a conviction on this misdemeanor offense may not necessarily result in the committee receiving the information it wants."