President Joe Biden said on Friday the Justice Department should prosecute people who defy subpoenas to testify before a congressional select committee probing the deadly Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol.
“I hope that the committee goes after them and holds them accountable,” Biden said, referring to the House of Representatives Select Committee investigating the riot.
Asked whether he believed the Justice Department should prosecute, Biden told reporters, “I do, yes.”
The committee plans to vote on Tuesday on adopting a contempt of Congress report against Steve Bannon, a longtime adviser to former President Donald Trump who has not complied with the committee’s subpoena.
Trump urged former aides to refuse to cooperate, citing executive privilege, which legal experts in turn dispute and Biden has refused to acknowledge.
If the committee approves the contempt case against Bannon, it will go to a full House vote. From there, the Justice Department and Attorney General Merrick Garland would decide whether to pursue prosecution.
In response to Biden’s remarks on Friday, a Justice Department spokesperson told ABC News that the department “will make its own independent decisions in all prosecutions based solely on the facts and the law.”
Hundreds of protesters stormed the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6 in an unsuccessful attempt to overturn Trump’s election defeat by Biden. Several deaths, injuries and Capitol officer suicides have been linked to the event.
The committee has subpoenaed other officials including former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, Trump former chief of staff Mark Meadows, deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino and former Defense Department official Kash Patel.