U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- Steve Bannon, William Barr and Eric Holder have all run afoul of Congress but only Bannon appears to be in big trouble and there just might be a reason beyond the defiance of a subpoena.
Bannon isn’t the attorney general of the United States, whereas Barr and Holder were when they collided with Capitol Hill. In Holder’s case, he became the first U.S. attorney general to ever be held in contempt of Congress, for refusing to turn over documents allegedly related to the notorious Operation Fast and Furious. Then-President Barack Obama provided cover for Holder by claiming executive privilege over documents sought by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Many questions remain about “Fast and Furious”—the infamous “gun walking” scheme by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that turned into an Obama administration scandal which the establishment media declined to recognize as a scandal because it involved Barack Obama—but the likelihood of getting answers now, ten years later, seems remote.
Bannon’s sin is that he defied a subpoena from the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol. Perhaps Bannon’s main problem is that he was an advisor to former President Donald Trump, the man Capitol Hill Democrats love to hate. The Jan. 6 demonstration has been dubbed an “insurrection.”
When Barr, who was Trump’s attorney general at the time, tangled with the Democrat-controlled House Judiciary Committee, an article in RealClearPolitics put it in perspective:
“Can Attorney General William Barr thumb his nose at Congress and get away with it,” writer Debra Saunders queried. “Can the nation’s top lawman refuse to honor a House Judiciary Committee subpoena for an unredacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report and not pay a penalty?
“In 2012, then-Attorney General Eric Holder did just that,” Saunders recalled in the 2019 article. “Holder defied a congressional subpoena to furnish documents about Operation ‘Fast and Furious,’ a program to attempt to trace gun trafficking along the southwest border that went awry. The House held Holder in contempt, but since Holder declined to indict himself, the controversy faded. Holder resigned in 2015.”
Bannon couldn’t refuse to indict himself.
Fast and Furious was, as one former ATF agent testified before the House Oversight Committee, “a perfect storm of idiocy.”
The ATF operation allowed some 2,000-2,500 guns to be “walked” into the hands of Mexican criminals, and the scheme imploded when Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in a December 2010 shootout near the border by someone using one of those guns, which was recovered at the crime scene. A major investigation was launched; congressional hearings were held in the summer of 2011. Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley pushed for answers, as did then-Oversight Committee Chairman Congressman Darrell Issa. Some ATF agents were reassigned or retired. A U.S. Attorney in Phoenix stepped down. Fast and Furious guns continued showing up at crime scenes in Mexico, where scores of people have been killed.
AmmoLand correspondent David Codrea dug into the scandal at the outset along with late “citizen journalist” and blogger Mike Vanderboegh. For his efforts, Codrea was honored in 2011 by the Second Amendment Foundation as the “Journalist of the Year.”
But that was then.
Democrat Congressman Pete Aguilar sits on the January 6th committee. He issued the following statement:
“Today, a grand jury made the correct decision to indict Steve Bannon for defying a lawful subpoena. The January 6th Capitol attack was a deadly assault on American democracy. We have a duty to find the truth about what happened that day, and to follow any lead necessary to get there. Anyone who attempts to hinder our investigation, or who refuses to comply with a subpoena, can expect that we will use every tool at our disposal to ensure the Committee’s work can continue. No one is above the law.”
Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS) and Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) issued a joint statement:
“Steve Bannon’s indictment should send a clear message to anyone who thinks they can ignore the Select Committee or try to stonewall our investigation: no one is above the law. We will not hesitate to use the tools at our disposal to get the information we need.”
Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) tweeted, “If our law is to mean anything, it has to be applied equally. Steve Bannon’s indictment is a badly needed affirmation of that principle. And Congress’ oversight power. It sends a clear message to every prospective witness: Refusal to obey a subpoena is not an option.”
If our law is to mean anything, it has to be applied equally.
Steve Bannon’s indictment is a badly needed affirmation of that principle. And Congress’ oversight power.
It sends a clear message to every prospective witness:
Refusal to obey a subpoena is not an option. pic.twitter.com/isPjTflP8v
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) November 14, 2021
Schiff is best known for pushing the “RussiaGate” conspiracy theory about the 2016 presidential election, based on the discredited Steele Dossier.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) tweeted: “The Grand Jury indictment of Steve Bannon shows that even the insurrectionist allies of Donald Trump are not above the law and the American justice system is back in business. Violate Congressional subpoenas and court orders at your own risk.”
The Grand Jury indictment of Steve Bannon shows that even the insurrectionist allies of Donald Trump are not above the law and the American justice system is back in business. Violate Congressional subpoenas and court orders at your own risk.
— Rep. Jamie Raskin (@RepRaskin) November 12, 2021
AmmoLand reached out to two members of the committee but received no response.
The 67-year-old Bannon was indicted for “refusing to appear for a deposition and the other for refusing to provide documents in response to the committee’s subpoena,” according to a report published at KIRO News in Seattle.
Holder resigned as attorney general in 2015 and has been in private practice. As described by the RealClearPolitics story, quoting a Washington Post article, “The Obama administration ran out the clock. Holder never complied with the subpoena and went unpunished for the contempt.” That does not seem the likely outcome for Bannon, but a lengthy court fight is almost a certainty.
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