In a move that may lead to an explanation from the Department of Justice (DOJ) on why former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows wasn’t prosecuted for snubbing a congressional subpoena from the House Committee Investigating Jan. 6, a federal judge asked the Justice Department on Friday whether or not Meadows is entitled to immunity.
U.S. District Judge Carl J. Nichols is currently presiding over a civil suit brought by Meadows against the committee, The Hill reports.
In his inquiry, Judge Nichols asked the DOJ “its view as to whether Plaintiff is entitled to absolute or qualified testimonial immunity from the subpoena at issue in this case.”
The question is relevant to more than just Meadows’ case.
As BizPac Review reported, Steve Bannon, the former White House chief strategist under former President Donald Trump, has been charged with two counts of contempt of Congress, and former Trump advisor Peter Navarro was hauled out of a DC airport in handcuffs for the same charge.
Huckabee unloads after Navarro arrest: ‘Democrat mafia,’ the media are the ‘REAL insurrectionists’ https://t.co/hzgJd9N4VV pic.twitter.com/bQ9NMBWHV1
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) June 5, 2022
Additionally, the DOJ has, without reason, declined to prosecute Dan Scavino for also defying a Jan. 6 subpoena, leading some to wonder if the punishments are arbitrary.
Meadows, in his lawsuit, cited a 1980s’-era department advisory legal memoranda that has extended absolute immunity from congressional subpoenas to senior White House officials, and, as The Hill notes, with the Democrats wrapping up their Jan. 6 show, it is not known if Meadows could, at this point, offer the committee anything of value.
“But the Justice Department’s refusal to charge Meadows has added to the tension between the two branches’ respective Jan. 6 investigations,” The Hill explains, adding that Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) “blasted” the DOJ for its decision not to prosecute.
In a June 3 joint statement, the two lawmakers said, “While today’s indictment of Peter Navarro was the correct decision by the Justice Department, we find the decision to reward Mark Meadows and Dan Scavino for their continued attack on the rule of law puzzling. Mr. Meadows and Mr. Scavino unquestionably have relevant knowledge about President Trump’s role in the efforts to overturn the 2020 election and the events of January 6th. We hope the Department provides greater clarity on this matter.”
Meanwhile, the always bombastic Bannon appears to be embracing his subpoena and the opportunities it presents.
Steve Bannon flips the script, subpoenas Pelosi, J6 committee members for upcoming trial https://t.co/kIcLJAnJ0l pic.twitter.com/im8Wp6rQYU
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) June 8, 2022
In a “flip-the-script” moment, Bannon’s attorneys have subpoenaed Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), all of the members of her hand-picked committee, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), and Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) in attempt to force them, under oath, to testify and “produce documents on how the committee was set up, how the decision was reached to charge Bannon with criminal contempt and communications with one of his lawyers,” BizPac reported earlier this month.
According to one of Bannon’s attorneys, the Jan. 6 committee members should be disqualified for conflicts of interest.
“It’s a party political abuse of the criminal system, in my opinion,” lawyer David Schoen said. “It never should have been done and it proves to me that they’re not interested in his testimony, they were interested in making a spectacle and intimidating people.”
Bannon’s trial is scheduled to begin on July 18.
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