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Jaime Herrera Beutler votes to hold Steve Bannon in criminal contempt of Congress

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.

Andrew Villeneuve

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