Speaker Johnson to file brief supporting Bannon Supreme Court appeal

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Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) said he will file a legal brief in support of former Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s emergency appeal to the Supreme Court to stay out of prison.

Bannon made the appeal after he was ordered to report to jail by July 1 in connection to being convicted after he evaded a subpoena from the House panel that investigated the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack.

Two sources familiar with the matters aid that the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group — a House group made up of the Speaker and the leaders and whips of the majority and minority parties in the House, which directs the chamber in taking legal positions  — voted along party lines to proceed with an amicus brief in the Bannon matter. 

Johnson publicly revealed his plans to file an amicus brief during interviews with Fox News and CNN Tuesday evening, arguing that the Jan. 6 select committee — which investigated the deadly riot for months throughout 2021 — produced work that was “tainted.”

“We’re working on filing an amicus brief in his appellate work there in his case because the Jan. 6 committee was, we think, wrongfully constituted,” Johnson told Fox News’s Sean Hannity. “We think the work was tainted. We think that they may have very well covered up evidence and maybe even more nefarious activities.”

“We’ve been investigating the committee itself; we disagree with how Speaker Pelosi put all that together; we think it violated House rules,” he continued. “And so we’ll be expressing that to the court, and I think it will help Steve Bannon in his appeal.”

Republicans have long pushed back on the Jan. 6 select committee’s subpoenas by arguing it was improperly constituted. So far, those arguments have been unsuccessful in court.

Bannon —who was ordered to report to prison for a four-month sentence by July 1 —filed an emergency appeal with the Supreme Court last week to remain out of jail as he appeals his conviction. The former Trump adviser was found guilty in 2022 on two counts of contempt of Congress after he refused to defy a subpoena from the Jan. 6 select committee, refusing to sit for an interview with the panel and hand over documents.

Former Trump adviser Peter Navarro is currently serving a four-month sentence after being found guilty of contempt charges for similarly flouting the Jan. 6 select committee’s subpoena. He unsuccessfully requested emergency relief from the Supreme Court.

The announcement from Johnson also follows a letter Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) sent to the Speaker earlier on Tuesday urging the Louisiana Republican to file an amicus brief in support of Bannon’s appeal.

The entreaty from Banks is no coincidence: the Indiana Republican was nominated by then-House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to serve as ranking member of the Jan. 6 panel, but then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) blocked him and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) from serving on the select committee.

McCarthy, in response, yanked all his picks from the panel, prompting Pelosi to tap former Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) to sit on the select committee to make it bipartisan. Republicans, however, rejected the notion that the panel was bipartisan since the Republican leader had not appointed them.

Johnson on Tuesday evening rejected the notion that filing an amicus brief in support of Bannon will undercut his ability to enforce Congressional subpoenas in the future.

“No, not at all,” Johnson told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins on “The Source.”

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