Indiana Republican pushes Speaker Johnson to support Bannon Supreme Court appeal

Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) is encouraging Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) to lead a legal effort to support former Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s emergency appeal to the Supreme Court.

Bannon is aiming to stay out of prison while appealing his conviction for evading a subpoena from the House panel that investigated the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack.

Banks, whom former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) blocked from being a ranking member of the Jan. 6 panel back in 2021, reiterated a longtime — and thus far, unsuccessful — argument from Republicans that the panel was illegitimately conceived, and therefore the subpoenas were illegitimate.

“Given the Committee’s unprecedented, norm-shattering behavior, and partisan motives and structure, if you were to direct the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group to file an amicus brief in support of Mr. Bannon’s June 21, 2024, Emergency Application for Continued Release Pending Appeal to the Supreme Court, it would have my full support,” Banks said in a letter to Johnson on Tuesday.

Bannon was found guilty of two contempt of Congress counts in 2022 stemming from his failure to cooperate with the Jan. 6 panel’s subpoenas. He was ordered to report for a four-month sentence on July 1.

On Friday, Bannon filed an emergency appeal with the Supreme Court to stay out of prison while he appeals his conviction.

“The January 6th Committee tossed aside 200 years of congressional precedent, destroyed evidence, and repeatedly broke House Rules to carry out a political vendetta and cover up Nancy Pelosi and never-Trumper’s responsibility for the security disaster on January 6th,” Banks said in a statement. “It was a fake investigation, and Republicans should urge the Supreme Court to follow established precedent and throw away its illegitimate subpoenas.”

Banks was originally appointed by then-House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to be the ranking member of the Jan. 6 select committee, but then-Speaker Pelosi blocked Banks and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) from sitting on the panel.

In response, McCarthy pulled all of his picks from the Jan. 6 committee, and Pelosi appointed Trump-critical Republican Reps. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) to sit on the panel, therefore championing it as bipartisan — an argument Republicans rejected.

Courts so far have rejected arguments about the committee’s authority in legal cases.

McCarthy and now-House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) had filed a legal brief in support of Bannon in 2022, Politico reported at the time, arguing that a conviction of Bannon would be invalid because the Jan. 6 committee did not have enough appointed members.

Banks, in his letter, argued that the committee’s actions were legally invalid because it did not have an appointed ranking member — the position he was supposed to fill.

“The Committee repeatedly violated House Rules and its own charter, House Resolution 503, including provisions limiting its deposition authority. H.Res. 503 directed the Committee Chairman to issue subpoenas ‘upon consultation with the ranking minority member,’ but the Committee did not have a ranking minority member,” Banks said in the letter.

The Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, the group that Banks suggested Johnson push to support Bannon’s Supreme Court appeal, is made up of the Speaker and the leaders and whips of the majority and minority parties in the House. It “speaks for, and articulates the institutional position of, the House in all litigation matters,” per the House rules.

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