The narrative crafted around the Jan. 6 incursion at the U.S. Capitol has persisted despite evidence to the contrary. It’s a political club they’re using against their enemies, and now Congress has targeted prominent rightwing figures.
The House of Representatives voted 229 to 202 in favor of holding Steve Bannon in contempt for failing to respond to a subpoena, the Associated Press reported. Bannon was an aide to former President Donald Trump but not at the time of the incident.
The Jan. 6 committee had voted unanimously to bring the criminal contempt charge against Bannon after he refused to answer a subpoena on the advice of one of Trump’s attorneys. Though they admitted he was not working for Trump at the time and only had contact with him the day before the incident, the fact that he promoted protests on his podcasts saying “all hell is going to break loose” was enough.
“Mr. Bannon’s own public statements make clear he knew what was going to happen before it did, and thus he must have been aware of — and may well have been involved in — the planning of everything that played out on that day,” Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) said ahead of the vote. “The American people deserve to know what he knew and what he did.”
The issue was brought to the House floor Friday. The vote 229-202 broke heavily along party lines, with most of the GOP lawmakers voting “no” save for nine, including Cheney.
Now the issue is referred to Attorney General Merrick Garland who has not given a statement on what he’ll do except to say the federal government will “make a decision consistent with the principles of prosecution.” However, this issue has been highly politicized and crammed into a narrative that fits with Democrats’ goals, facts be darned.
Despite talks of an “insurrection” or fables about the police killed during the incursion, the fact remains that the only one to get shot that day was Ashli Babbitt, a Trump supporter who by all accounts was unarmed, Fox News reported. The officer involved was let off the hook with no disciplinary action.
What happened at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was ugly and a dark day for sure. However, the partisan games played in the aftermath have become the real scandal — and a Trump ally like Bannon seems to have been ripe for the picking.