House Republicans Launch Effort To Keep Steve Bannon Out Of Jail

WASHINGTON — House Republicans will intervene in Steve Bannon’s court case as the former Donald Trump adviser faces prison for defying a congressional subpoena.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) announced Wednesday morning that the House would weigh in with the federal court considering Bannon’s appeal of his four-month prison sentence.

Bannon defied a subpoena from the bipartisan House committee that investigated the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on Congress, by a rioting mob of Donald Trump supporters. The Justice Department prosecuted him for contempt of Congress and a jury found him guilty.

Bannon’s attorneys argued the committee wasn’t legitimate, partly because it only had two Republican members, and the House, which was then under Democratic control, defended itself in a 2022 brief. Johnson said in an emailed statement the House amicus brief would simply “withdraw certain arguments made by the House earlier in the litigation.”

At the same time, Republicans are demanding the Justice Department respect their subpoena for the recording of President Joe Biden’s interview with former special counsel Robert Hur, who investigated Biden’s mishandling of classified documents after he left the vice presidency. The Justice Department gave lawmakers a transcript of the interview, but refused to hand over the audio.

Johnson announced the House would sue the Justice Department on Monday.

“There’s been admission that they edited the transcript in some ways and we need to know in what ways,” Johnson said Wednesday at a press conference.

In a court filing in a separate case seeking the audio, the Justice Department said the transcript was accurate but that “filler” and repeated words were omitted by the “trained professional court reporter” who made the transcript, not an administration official.

The transcript showed that at one point during the interview, Biden seemed unable to recall what year his son Beau died of brain cancer without prompting from aides, reinforcing concerns about Biden’s age.

The White House has said Republicans only want the audio to make attack ads, while Republicans have suggested the Justice Department edited the already embarrassing transcript to protect Biden somehow.

In addition to taking the Justice Department to court, some Republicans support a resolution by Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.) to revive the House’s long-dormant “inherent contempt” power, which has been used in the past to actually arrest administration officials for defying subpoenas. Luna said she would force a vote on the resolution on Friday. It’s likely the House would table the resolution.

HuffPost asked House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) ― who also refused a Jan. 6 committee subpoena ― if it was odd for Republicans to dismiss Bannon’s subpoena while insisting Garland obey their own.

“No, because the Jan. 6 committee was such a joke,” Jordan said.

Bannon has asked the Supreme Court to delay his prison sentence last week while a lower court works out his appeal. If the court declines to do so, he’s supposed to turn himself in next month.