GOP revenge for the Bannon indictment may have to wait

“There are many Republicans eager to hear testimony from Ron Klain and Jake Sullivan when we take the house back,” Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan tweeted after the indictment came and appointed Biden’s Chief of Staff and National Security Advisor.

However, Bannon’s case may not have swayed the GOP’s enthusiasm to involve the Biden White House. Legal experts say the charge against Bannon is different from almost any other disregard for the Congressional charge in memory – from the audacity of his defiance to his feeble claim to executive privileges designed to protect presidential talks with top advisors, not the help of a private individual for a past president trying to overturn the results of an election.

“If Ron Klain ever takes part in a violent riot against the union, I hope they get him involved,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), A member of the special committee on January 6th. “You have a friend of a former president who is exercising executive privilege that does not apply to him. It’s absurd and I hope our GOP colleagues understand that there is no legal basis for Steve Bannon’s statement. “

There’s another major issue that could thwart Republicans’ grand oversight plans for 2023: Biden will continue to be president. His power to forego executive privileges – or, in the case of his own aides, to maintain them – carries significant legal weight until the end of his term.

“This is an apple and helicopter situation,” said national security attorney Kel McClanahan of the GOP’s efforts to compare Bannon’s situation with a future call for testimony from Klain, Sullivan or others. “The person in power, whether they are Democrats, Republicans, libertarians or Greens, if they own the White House, they have executive privilege, period.”

That means earliest Republicans could likely hope to get top Biden aides by 2025 without falling under the weight of executive privileges. Even then, this would only happen if a Republican wins the White House in 2024 and then agrees to forego executive privileges.

McClanahan, whose group National Security Counselors filed a lawsuit against Trump’s efforts to prevent the National Archives from sharing his White House records with Congressional investigators, said a future Republican president would have unilateral power to exercise executive privilege claims To forego his predecessor’s records – just as Biden is doing today. But until then, the GOP’s attempts to compel testimony from Klain or others are unlikely to gain court approval.

Still, Republicans in Congress see the DOJ’s indictment against Bannon as an important precedent for their own future investigative efforts. As they simmer, ponder how to capitalize on the committee’s legal and oversight moves on January 6, 2023 and beyond.

“In this majority, they cross lines every day and open Pandora’s boxes.

Kentucky Rep. James Comer, the senior Republican on the House Oversight Committee, said the January 6 draft committee could become a roadmap for him in a GOP-led Congress if he were likely to have an oversized say in investigations.

“I think they set a new precedent for oversight and how you can get documents,” Comer said. “The traditional rule [is] They cannot be accessed until five years after the presidency. But they said, ‘Well, that’s an extreme situation what happened on January 6th.’ What if we think what happened to the Afghanistan debacle was an extreme situation? “

Even if they can’t challenge Biden administration documents in 2023, Republicans say they watch the Democrats’ persistent approach to investigating the riot in the Capitol and plan to use similar tactics if a Republican takes the White House in 2025.

Republicans will face significant pressure from their own grassroots, especially as they gain new power in Washington in 2022 and 2024 to get the Department of Justice to prosecute those they say are law breakers (who are many there).

“It will definitely be not just a push, but a demand by Republican voters that Republicans do the same thing that Democrats do here, investigative domestic worker.

Meanwhile, a legal expert said the Biden Justice Department may not have finished pursuing congressional disregard for charges after Bannon was charged.

“If you only need a dime I don’t know why you don’t need a pound,” said Saikrishna Prakash, a professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, citing the House’s continued efforts to compel testimony from former Trump aides Mark Meadows, Dan Scavino and Kash Patel. “I don’t know why they despise him and the others don’t.”

McClanahan said that in 2025 a Republican in the White House would certainly have the power to declassify virtually anything Biden might hide behind executive privileges during his tenure. He called this trend “the Harry Reid Effect” – a nod to the former Democratic leader’s decision to get rid of the filibuster in 2013, heralding future pressures from both parties to weaken it.

“If you give the president or Congress some authority,” McClanahan said, “you have to plan that someone you don’t like has that authority later.”

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