By Joyce Vance
Steve Bannon, no advocate of our democracy, is now in flagrant violation of the Congressional subpoena served on him by the House Jan. 6 Committee. What should Congress do? As we learned during the Trump administration, people who place their personal and political ambitions above the country they took an oath to serve don’t play by the rules. Time and time again, we’ve seen Trump and his allies stretch and twist the rule of law and the norms of governing, only to claim innocence by making unreasonable, bad faith arguments about what the law means and what it allows. Time and time again, we’ve seen them get away with it. These bad actors are thorns in the side of democracy, and they can draw dangerous amounts of blood if not held accountable.
Unlike Bannon, the other recipients of the first wave of Congressional subpoenas—Mark Meadows, who left a safe seat in Congress to become Trump’s fourth chief of staff; Dan Scavino, the White House social media director who Trump entrusted with his Twitter account; and Kash Patel, a longtime Trump staffer who was sent over to became chief of staff to the acting secretary of defense after the election—are reported to be engaged in negotiations with the committee. It isn’t unusual to negotiate a Congressional subpoena to limit the scope of testimony and what documents will be produced. It’s expected that “accommodation” between the executive and legislative branches will take place in these situations. This process, which resolves executive privilege issues without resort to litigation, is commonplace.