DOJ slaps down Biden with VERY terse statement saying it ‘makes its own independent decisions’ and Psaki goes into damage control after he said anyone who defies a congressional subpoena from the Jan.6 select committee should be prosecuted
- President Joe Biden said he would like to see the Department of Justice go after those who refuse to comply with the Jan. 6 select committee
- The DOJ rebuked the president’s remarks and said it would make ‘its own independent decisions’ regarding congressional subpoenas
- Press Secretary Jen Psaki went on the defensive and tried to clarify Biden’s statement, saying he supports the DOJ’s independent role
- It comes as former Donald Trump ally Steve Bannon failed to testify on Thursday, citing that he was protected by Trump’s executive privilege
- The select committee plans to hold Bannon in criminal contempt
The US Department of Justice slammed President Joe Biden after he urged the Jan. 6 riot select committee to prosecute those who refuse to comply with a congressional subpoena.
As he was leaving Washington D.C. on Friday, Biden told reporters he hopes the committee ‘goes after them and holds them accountable.’
When a CNN reporter asked if they should be prosecuted, Biden said, ‘I do, yes.’
Now the White House is in damage control move over the president’s statement as DOJ spokesperson Anthony Coley gave a blunt response to Biden’s plea.
‘The Department of Justice will make its own independent decisions in all prosecutions based solely on the facts and the law. Period. Full stop,’ Coley said.
President Joe Biden upended days of silence from the White House regarding the Jan. 6 committee by asking the Department of Justice to hold those with subpoena’s accountable. The DOJ snapped back by saying it will ‘make its own independent decsion’
Press Secretary Jan Psaki said the president has been troubled by the riot, which she called one of the ‘darkest days in our democracy’
Psaki tweeted in defense of Biden and claimed he supported the DOJ’s decision
Biden’s comments upended days of discipline from the White House, which had been distancing itself from the committee’s expected criminal contempt referral against former Donald Trump ally Steven Bannon, who is refusing to comply with a subpoena.
Press Secretary Jen Psaki attempted to clarify Biden’s statement on Twitter, writing that the president supports the independent role of the DOJ.
‘As @potus has said many times, January 6th was one of the darkest days in our democracy. He supports the work of the committee and the independent role of the Department of Justice to make any decisions about prosecutions,’ Psaki tweeted.
Bannon has refused to comply with a Jan. 6 committee subpoena, citing that Trump had allegedly invoked executive privilege to defend Bannon from testifying.
Trump has said he will exert executive privilege to resist any cooperation with the select committee.
Steve Bannon, pictured in August, refused to testify before the Jan. 6 select committee
Bannon, pictured with Donald Trump, claims he is protected from testifying under the former president’s executive privilege, which Trump said he’d use to resist against the committee
‘Mr. Bannon has declined to cooperate with the Select Committee and is instead hiding behind the former President’s insufficient, blanket, and vague statements regarding privileges he has purported to invoke,’ Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, who chairs the committee, said in a statement following Bannon’s no-show.
The subpoena asked Bannon to testify on Thursday about any communications he may have had with the former president in the days around the storming of the Capitol.
Justice officials have not yet revealed what they will do with the referral to hold Bannon in criminal contempt, which has not been used to prosecute anyone in decades, CNN reported.
The Jan. 6 select committee is investigating the Capitol riot that erupted amid Donald Trump’s claims of election fraud during the certification of Joe Biden’s victory
Rioters clashed with Capitol officers as they broke through barriers to enter the building
‘Though the Select Committee welcomes good-faith engagement with witnesses seeking to cooperate with our investigation, we will not allow any witness to defy a lawful subpoena or attempt to run out the clock, and we will swiftly consider advancing a criminal contempt of Congress referral,’ the committee said in a statement.
Despite Bannon’s refusal to testify on Thursday, other Trump aids have appeared to comply with the committee’s requests.
Former Trump DOJ official Jeffery Clark complied with a subpoena for his testimony and documents earlier this week, and former Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen sat down for an interview with the commission on Wednesday, Fox News reports.