Former Donald Trump strategist Steve Bannon is in a standoff with the House Select Committee investigating the Jan 6 insurrection and the reason he’s defying a congressional subpoena to appear before the investigative panel is to “stir up trouble,” former FBI special agent Clint Watts says.
The Jan. 6 House Select Committee released a statement saying that they intend to “move quickly” to hold Steve Bannon in criminal contempt over his refusal to testify about his role in the attack on the US Capitol.
Bannon, who wasn’t working for the White House at the time the Capitol riots were taking place, is attempting to assert executive privilege to block the subpoena.
On Monday, MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace asked about Bannon in a conversation with Watts, who now serves as a senior fellow at the Center for Cyber and Homeland Security at George Washington University.
“Absolutely, I think they need to pursue prosecution because if they don’t, it would give precedence for anyone, regardless of any committee, to just not respond, you know, when brought up with any sort of subpoena or a call to Congress in general,” Watts explained. “I imagine all the committee hearings across the board, any time someone doesn’t want to show up — we have been talking about social media, for example. They don’t want to show up, or they don’t want to return records. Then, they [would] have a precedent that they could do that.”
Watts went on to say that he believes this is exactly the “showdown” that Bannon wants.
“He wants to put that challenge up there, and remember, I think for him and many of his group, their time is waning,” Watts continued. “So this is a way to continue to stir up trouble, continue to be in the news, and continue this sort of standoff. Remember, Steve Bannon’s focus has always been [the] death of the administrative state. You heard him talk about that during the early years of the Trump administration. He would be killing off the administrative state if he were not prosecuted in this. It is actually a challenge. It is at the core of what our country is about, can he alone sort of make this challenge? Will there be any follow-up to it in the future?”
Watch the full exchange below: