Former Defense official Patel ditches Jan. 6 deposition; committee to refer Bannon for criminal contempt for his refusal to cooperate
WASHINGTON — Kashyap Patel, a former Defense Department official in the Trump administration who was involved in security planning and responding to the Jan. 6 insurrection, did not appear Thursday for his scheduled deposition before the House select committee investigating Jan. 6.
“He didn’t show up. He’s continuing to engage,” Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a member of the panel, told CQ Roll Call. “We have a limited threshold of patience for that.”
The committee was set to meet later Thursday.
Although Patel didn’t show up for his scheduled deposition, he has been fundraising off the subpoena issued to him and has criticized the panel as “corrupt.”
Stephen Bannon, a former Donald Trump adviser, was also scheduled to appear Thursday, but he has indicated he would not comply with the panel’s investigation. Former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Dan Scavino, the former White House deputy chief of staff for communications, are supposed to testify Friday.
“I’ll tell you the committee is determined that we are going to — even if, you know, like it takes a while to get it to happen,” Kinzinger said. “We’re gonna do everything we can to compel that.”
Later Thursday, the select committee announced it would refer Bannon for criminal contempt of Congress because he has refused to cooperate with the panel’s subpoenas requesting records and testimony.
The panel will vote to adopt a contempt report regarding Bannon on Tuesday.
“Mr. Bannon has declined to cooperate with the Select Committee and is instead hiding behind the former President’s insufficient, blanket and vague statements regarding privileges he has purported to invoke. We reject his position entirely,” Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said in a statement. “The Select Committee will not tolerate defiance of our subpoenas, so we must move forward with proceedings to refer Mr. Bannon for criminal contempt. I’ve notified the Select Committee that we will convene for a business meeting Tuesday evening to vote on adopting a contempt report.”
Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Kinzinger are the only two Republicans on the panel and have taken considerable blowback from the GOP for doing so. Even before she joined the committee, Cheney in May was purged from her No. 3 slot in House Republican leadership for speaking out against Trump’s lies about the 2020 presidential election being stolen from him.
Kinzinger said, “Liz and I have put everything into this committee. ... We’re not gonna be weak on it.”
The committee has said it would refer criminal contempt of Congress charges to the Department of Justice if individuals don’t cooperate. That process could be lengthy, and whether the panel members can get all the information they need for a comprehensive investigation remains to be seen.
Kinzinger said the panel thinks the DOJ will be “very cooperative” and said the department has been thus far.
He added, “If a criminal referral is passed out of the House and signed by the speaker, that is, I think that’s guaranteed to be slated for grand jury. The question is just when.”
Those charged with criminal contempt of Congress can face a fine and up to a year in prison.
The committee would need to adopt a contempt report that includes a resolution recommending the House hold that witness in contempt. If the committee adopts the contempt report, it would then refer the report to the full House; Speaker Nancy Pelosi would then need to certify the report to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, who would be responsible for referral to a grand jury.
Some witnesses have been cooperating with the committee, including Jeffrey Rosen, who served as acting attorney general under Trump.
Even with efforts by some to slow or impede the process, Kinzinger said he is hopeful they will get what they need for their investigation.
“We have people that are voluntarily talking to us, you know, and so as we start to build this up, you can kind of triangulate around some of these big people that we’re pulling in,” Kinzinger said. “And so I think we’ll be able to, even with stalls, we’ll be able to get a lot of information — I hope, I mean, but I’ve never been through this before either.”