January 6 panel prepares to immediately pursue criminal charges as Bannon faces subpoena deadline
"That is an issue between the committee and President Trump's counsel and Mr. Bannon is not required to respond at this time," attorney Robert Costello wrote.
If Bannon is a no-show, the committee is expected to immediately begin seeking a referral for criminal contempt after the subpoena deadline passes -- essentially making an example of Bannon's noncompliance as the House seeks more witnesses, sources familiar with the planning told CNN.
"He would never be prosecuted by the Trump Justice Department.
Many legal experts agree with the committee that Bannon, as a private citizen, would have no standing to block a subpoena by claiming executive privilege.
Historic criminal contempt casesAs severe as a criminal contempt referral sounds, the House's choice to use the Justice Department may be more of a warning shot than a solution.
Holding Bannon in criminal contempt through a prosecution could take years, and historic criminal contempt cases have been derailed by appeals and acquittals.
An Environmental Protection Agency official in the Reagan administration was the last person indicted for criminal contempt of Congress.
Lavelle fought the charges to trial, and a jury found her not guiltyAt least one other criminal contempt proceeding predating Lavelle, during the anti-communist McCarthy-era investigations of the 1950s, was overturned by the Supreme Court on appeal.
In more recent administrations, the Justice Department has declined to prosecute contempt referrals -- though in those situations, Congress has made contempt referrals on members of the sitting president's administration.
They're going to send [Bannon] to criminal contempt.
The criminal contempt approach also is structured to be more of a punishment than an attempt to compel a witness to speak.
Instead, the House essentially loses control of the case as the Justice Department takes over to prosecute.