GRAND FORKS -- The region’s members of Congress voted along party lines on Thursday afternoon, Oct. 21, in a vote to hold Steve Bannon, an adviser to former President Donald Trump, in contempt of Congress.
The vote is the latest chapter in the country’s ongoing reckoning with the Capitol riot, which is still being investigated by the House’s Jan. 6 committee. Bannon, who once served as a high-ranking White House aide, is believed by members of the committee to have close knowledge of the events that led up to the unrest in Washington, D.C.
Earlier this month, Bannon refused to comply with a subpoena from the committee, leading the group to vote Tuesday, Oct. 19, to hold him in contempt of Congress. That was echoed by the full House on Thursday in a 229-202 vote, with nine Republicans joining a Democratic majority to refer the matter to the Department of Justice.
Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., was among the Republicans who voted against the contempt resolution, as was Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D.
The representatives from Minnesota, and their votes, included:
- Republican Michelle Fischbach (no)
- Democrat Angie Craig (yes)
- Republican Tom Emmer (no)
- Republican Jim Hagedorn (no)
- Democrat Betty McCollum (yes)
- Democrat Ilhan Omar (yes)
- Democrat Dean Phillips (yes)
- Republican Pete Stauber (no)
“This congressional contempt resolution is premature,” Armstrong argued in a statement issued by his office. “Everyone has the right to challenge a subpoena and Mr. Bannon is exercising that right. Additionally, President Trump is challenging the disclosure of documents from the National Archives. These legal challenges should be allowed to run their course before the U.S. House takes this step.”
The future of the contempt resolution will set the tone for the ongoing investigation into the Capitol riot. Trump has reportedly instructed former aides not to comply with the committee’s investigation, and the Justice Department’s upcoming decision on Bannon’s prosecution could prove an important factor in the group’s ability to gather more documents and testimony.
If Justice Department officials decide to prosecute, Bannon could face up to $100,000 and a year in jail.
The contempt vote also demonstrated the continuing power Trump enjoys within the Republican Party, with the vast majority of the GOP House caucus voting against a measure that could lend the Jan. 6 committee’s subpoena’s more credibility.
“There’s a moment when politics must stop if we want to defend and protect our institutions,” Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., a leading member of the investigating committee, reportedly said this week. “A violent assault on the Capitol to stop a constitutional process of counting electoral votes is that moment.”