WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol will move criminal contempt charges against those who do not comply with its subpoenas, Representative Liz Cheney, the panel’s vice chair, said on Tuesday.
The committee late last month subpoenaed four members of former President Donald Trump’s administration. They were Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows, former White House adviser Steve Bannon, former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino and former Defense Department official Kash Patel.
The committee has already threatened criminal contempt charges against Bannon for refusing to cooperate with the inquiry into the attack, in which a mob of Trump’s supporters stormed the seat of the U.S. government.
Those subpoenaed will have the opportunity to cooperate, but if they do not, the committee will enforce its subpoenas, Cheney, a Republican, told reporters at the U.S. Capitol. She leads the committee along with its chairman, Democratic Representative Bennie Thompson.
“In general, people are going to have to appear, or, you know, we will move contempt charges against them,” Cheney said. She said the entire committee was in agreement on that point.
Cheney said the committee expected to have depositions from Meadows and Patel later this week. “We’ll see if they show up. If they show up, we’ll be prepared,” she said.
The riot took place as Congress was meeting to certify Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory, delaying that process for several hours as then-Vice President Mike Pence, members of Congress, staff and journalists fled. More than 600 people now face criminal charges stemming from the event.
House Democrats formed the committee over objections fromTrump’s fellow Republicans in the House. Cheney is one of two Republicans on the committee.
(Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by Peter Cooney)