DOJ Says It’s Independent After Biden Calls for Prosecution of People Who Defy Jan. 6 Subpoenas

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
October 16, 2021USshare
DOJ Says It’s Independent After Biden Calls for Prosecution of People Who Defy Jan. 6 Subpoenas
Attorney General Merrick Garland announces a lawsuit to block the enforcement of new Texas law that bans most abortions at the Justice Department in Washington on Sept. 9, 2021. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo)

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday said it will decide whether to take action against people who defy subpoenas from a congressional panel investigating the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol.

“The Department of Justice will make its own independent decisions in all prosecutions based solely on the facts and the law. Period. Full stop,” a DOJ spokesperson told news outlets in a statement.

President Joe Biden earlier in the day told reporters that he would like the congressional panel and the DOJ to act against the people ducking subpoenas.

“I hope that the committee goes after them and holds them accountable,” Biden said in Washington.

“I do, yes,” he added when asked if he thinks the DOJ should initiate prosecution.

Biden has previously said the DOJ would act independently during his administration.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki later sought to clarify Biden’s remarks, writing on Twitter that the president “supports the work of the committee and the independent role of the Department of Justice to make any decisions about prosecutions.”

The post drew pushback from Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.), who responded by wondering if the DOJ would be charging Biden’s son Hunter Biden, who is under investigation for alleged tax fraud.

“How about the millions of illegals crossing our southern border? There is nothing independent about this DOJ. They serve the far left and only care about investigating conservatives,” Steube said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) convened a panel earlier this year to probe the Capitol breach after Senate Republicans rejected a measure to establish a Jan. 6 commission.

The panel has only two Republicans and both voted to impeach former President Donald Trump.

It has issued a flurry of subpoenas in recent weeks, including to former Trump administration officials Kash Patel, Mark Meadows, and Steve Bannon.

Steve Bannon
Steve Bannon in New York City, on Oct. 18, 2019. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

Patel and Meadows are engaging with the committee but Bannon “has indicated that he will try to hide behind vague references to privileges of the former President,” Panel Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said in a joint statement last week.

They added that they would “not allow any witness to defy a lawful subpoena or attempt to run out the clock, and we will swiftly consider advancing a criminal contempt of Congress referral.”

Robert Costello, a lawyer for Bannon, said in a recent letter to the committee that Bannon refuses to comply because of Trump’s argument that he can invoke executive privilege to block Bannon’s testimony.

Trump sent a letter to the National Archives and Records Administration on Oct. 8 asserting executive privilege over some of the records the panel is seeking.

That same day, White House counsel Dana Remus told the archives that Trump using the privilege “is not in the best interests of the United States” and that Biden was waiving the privilege.

The House panel is scheduled to vote on Tuesday on holding Bannon in contempt of Congress. If approved, the measure would then go to the full House for a vote. Democrats hold the House with a slim majority. If the House holds Bannon in contempt, it would refer the matter to the DOJ.

Jack Phillips contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

ntd newsletter icon
Sign up for NTD Daily
What you need to know, summarized in one email.
Stay informed with accurate news you can trust.
By registering for the newsletter, you agree to the Privacy Policy.