Depositions are scheduled for Kash Patel and Steve Bannon on Oct. 14, and for Mark Meadows and Dan Scavino on Oct. 15. If they don’t show up for their depositions, members of the committee have indicated it will be criminal referral time.
“People will have the opportunity to cooperate, they will have the opportunity to come in and work with us as they should,” said Rep. Liz Cheney, one of the Republicans on the committee. “If they fail to do so, then we'll enforce our subpoenas.”
Patel, a former administration aide, and Meadows, a former White House chief of staff, are already “engaging” with the committee. While that’s different from fully complying with subpoenas, it suggests there’s a chance they will show up for depositions. Bannon, Trump’s former campaign manager and a White House adviser early on, has said he will not comply. Scavino, a longtime Trump aide, was only even served with his subpoena after the original deadline has passed. Depositions aren’t the only question, though. The subpoenas include demands for documents relating to Jan. 6, and Patel and Meadows cannot be allowed to get away with, for instance, a half-assed deposition and no documents.
The timing of the next move is the question. Rep. Jamie Raskin said “I would expect the Chairman to decide to move immediately on criminal referrals” is the deposition dates pass and the men do not show up and sit down and talk. That’s surely what needs to happen, though Chair Bennie Thompson has not said anything so concrete. (Thompson has mentioned the possibility of criminal referrals, though.) So the committee should be prepared to move on Oct. 15. Especially in Bannon’s case, they can have referral all teed up and ready to go and send it out as soon as he doesn’t show up.
Then Attorney General Merrick Garland will need to follow through, more aggressively than he’s done so far when faced with Team Trump wrongdoing. Garland has to back Congress in investigating an insurrection against the U.S. government in an attempt to overturn an election, or he is useless as a defender of the rule of law.
Meanwhile, CNN reports that as many as five of the 11 rally organizers who received subpoenas from the committee have started cooperating by sharing documents. That group of 11 faces a Wednesday deadline to comply, so the committee may need to be working on a few more criminal referrals in the near future. But it may also have a lot of interesting new documents to sift through, as well, allowing it to make progress on some of key questions.
Friday, Oct. 15, though. That’s the day we want to either know that four Trump loyalists sat down and talked, really talked, to the committee (and turned over documents), or that they now face criminal referrals and that a resolute Merrick Garland is moving with dispatch.
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