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Trump personally involved in planning, execution of Jan. 6 protest: Cheney

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), the vice chair of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, speaks before voting to hold Trump ally Steve Bannon in criminal contempt for refusing to comply with a subpoena.

Republican lawmaker Liz Cheney says the refusal of Steve Bannon, a longtime aide to former US President Donald Trump, to cooperate with the House committee investigating the Capitol riot clearly shows the Republican president’s role in the January 6th incidents.

"Based on the committee’s investigation, it appears that Mr. Bannon had substantial advance knowledge of the plans for January 6th and likely had an important role in formulating those plans.  Mr. Bannon was in the war room at the Willard on January 6th. He also appears to have detailed knowledge regarding the president’s efforts to sell millions of Americans the fraud that the election was stolen," Cheney said on Wednesday.

She, however, reiterated that Bannon’s refusal to cooperate just suggests one thing.

"They suggest that President Trump was personally involved in the planning and execution of January 6th," Cheney noted. "And we will get to the bottom of that."

The comments by Cheney come after the House committee sent Bannon’s case to the Justice Department for criminal contempt charges after he refused to comply with a subpoena deadline.

Criminal contempt is one of the three options the congressional panel can pursue to enforce its subpoenas, along with civil and inherent contempt.

After being referred to the US Department of Justice for criminal charges, Bannon could potentially face the jail time, a fine or both.

Meanwhile, Trump has filed a federal lawsuit against the Jan. 6 select committee in an attempt to block the panel from obtaining his administration's records from the US National Archives, something that has to be addressed first, Bannon argued, before he could comply with the committee’s subpoena.

However, the committee’s chairman Bennie Thompson slammed the lawsuit in a statement, suggesting that the former president wants to hide the facts relating to his role in inciting violence by his supporters, who were trying to overturn the 2020 election results in his favor.

“The former president’s clear objective is to stop the select committee from getting to the facts about Jan. 6 and his lawsuit is nothing more than an attempt to delay and obstruct our probe. Precedent and law are on our side. Executive privilege is not absolute and President Biden has so far declined to invoke that privilege," he said. "Additionally, there’s a long history of the White House accommodating congressional investigative requests when the public interest outweighs other concerns. It’s hard to imagine a more compelling public interest than trying to get answers about an attack on our democracy and an attempt to overturn the results of an election."

Since Jan. 6, Democrats have been arguing that the protest was an insurrection based on disinformation spread by the former president, who alleges that he is the true victor of the 2020 presidential election and not President Joe Biden.

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