As expected, the United States House of Representatives voted today to hold Donald Trump’s pal Steve Bannon in criminal contempt of Congress for attempting to blow off a subpoena recently issued by the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol.
The Department of Justice will now decide whether to prosecute Bannon, a decision that Attorney General Merrick Garland says will be based on the law. Not prosecuting Bannon, of course, would set a terrible precedent and would be at odds with the law, so there is only one course of action for the DOJ to take.
Just nine Republicans were among the two hundred and twenty-nine representatives who voted to hold Bannon in contempt, and one of them was the Pacific Northwest’s own Jaime Herrera Beutler.
Herrera Beutler (R‑WA-3rd District), as readers may recall, was among a similarly small group of Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for inciting the insurrection at rally that preceded the attack on the Capitol.
Herrera Beutler has not, to our knowledge, commented publicly on the vote yet. Her most recent posts on social networks are about other matters.
Herrera Beutler was previously joined in voting for impeachment by fellow Republican Dan Newhouse (R‑WA-4th District) of Central Washington. However, Newhouse has since switched back to having a pro-Trump stance, owing to his fear of losing reelection, and he did not vote to hold Bannon in contempt today.
The other Republicans who voted for contempt were:
- Liz Cheney of Wyoming (a Select Committee member)
- Adam Kinzinger of Illinois (a Select Committee member)
- Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio
- John Katko of New York
- Nancy Mace of South Carolina
- Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania
- Fred Upton and Peter Meijer, both of Michigan
Asked why it was important that Republicans vote to hold Bannon in contempt, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said: “Because they take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
“The genius of our Constitution, and of our Founders, was the separation of power – checks and balances,” the Speaker added. “If, in fact, you want to negate the ability of one check of another branch of government over another, then you are undermining the Constitution. So, this goes beyond Bannon in terms of its importance. And you would think that if they take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, they would vote for that system of checks and balances.”
Sadly, most Republicans are more interested in doing what Donald Trump wants than upholding the Constitution. Kevin McCarthy believes his future is tied to Trump’s, and is acting accordingly. So are most of his members.
Frustrated Democrats bemoaned that unconceivable, indefensible position today in floor speeches prior to the vote on finding Bannon in contempt.
“We live in an age where apparently some put fidelity to Donald Trump over fidelity to the Constitution. I find that disgusting,” said Representative Jim McGovern of Massachusetts. “He is so feared that my Republican colleagues are going to keep denying what happened that day.”
But not all Republicans. Not quite. While Dan Newhouse has lost his backbone, Jaime Herrera Beutler has continued to occasionally buck her party. She did it again today knowing that it will continue to fuel efforts to defeat her next year by the Trump-aligned apparatuses that now dominate Republican politics.
It’s truly refreshing when a Republican like Herrera Beutler votes without regard to their reelection and instead votes based on the good of the country.
Thank you, Representative Herrera Beutler, for helping make this vote bipartisan and showing that at least one Republican from the Pacific Northwest believes that the Constitution matters and the truth about January 6th matters.