Tensions Erupt on the House Floor amid Capitol Attacks Investigation

As the House moved to vote on the criminal contempt resolution against Trump ally Steve Bannon, tensions between Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Reps. Jamie Raskin and Liz Cheney erupted on the House floor. According to CNN, there is video footage of Rep. Greene approaching Raskin and Cheney, berating both about the lack of investigation behind the violence of the Black Lives Matter protests. 

Cheney and Raskin both denounced her as a joke, leading to what Raskin observed to be Greene just, “screaming at Liz.” In what eventually progressed to a conversation about “Jewish space lasers,” Greene rebuked Cheney by referencing Cheney being voted out of her GOP leadership position. The tensions finally playing out on the House floor reflect how strains between the Freedom Caucus and Cheney continue to be observed. This of course follows what the GOP regards as a betrayal when Cheney joined the Democratic-led committee investigation. Greene is said to have yelled, “You’re done. You’re a joke, Liz. Your party rejected you.”

After this drama that played out, the criminal contempt resolution against Steve Bannon was voted on. Steve Bannon, one of former President Donald Trump’s strongest allies, was recommended to be held for criminal contempt after defying a subpoena to appear before Congress. Believed to have former knowledge of the Capitol attacks, the House voted to approve the January 6 committee’s report that recommended Steve Bannon to be held for criminal contempt of Congress. Largely along partisan lines, the vote was in favor of the conviction of contempt of Congress, however, nine Republican representatives crossed party lines. These representatives included Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Rep. Fred Upton and others. 

Most notably, however, this list included, Republican Rep. Liz Cheney who even “criticized her colleagues Thursday for protecting Bannon.” She even went on to assert that former President Trump knew these attacks were happening, seeing them unfold on television and had no immediate actions. She berates her Republican colleagues for “protecting” Bannon, believing that, as a Trump ally, he must have had some inside knowledge of the attacks. Of course, Bannon was not questioned by the panel, citing “executive privilege,” however, he willfully denied a subpoena to go before Congress and be questioned about the Capitol attacks. 

 The vote that put Bannon in contempt showed that Democrats are willing to punish individuals who refuse to cooperate with the House’s investigation of the Capitol attacks that sought to threaten and even overturn the results of the 2020 election. Democratic Rep. and House committee chair, Bennie Thompson, says that “Steve Bannon has led us down this path by refusing to cooperate in any way with our investigation.” 

Since the referral has passed the House, it now heads to the Justice Department which will decide if charges and jail time will result. In order to motivate Trump allied witnesses to cooperate, however, the use of the Justice department likely only serves as a warning since any person found liable for contempt of Congress rarely leads to jail time. Threatening jail time shows how far the committee is willing to go in order to investigate these riots. In addition, the panel hopes that the example of Steve Bannon serves as motivation for others who are being investigated or were subpoenaed before the panel to cooperate.