Senate Republicans’ sudden concern for misdemeanors
One of the most serious crimes in recent years was the Jan. 6 insurrection on the U.S. Capitol to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. The House of Representatives has established a select committee to investigate that organized assault in order to prevent further attacks. The primary power of the committee is to hold in criminal contempt those who refuse to comply with their subpoena to appear and testify. Stephen K. Bannon, an associate of former President Donald Trump, has refused to comply with the subpoena.
The House vote concerning Bannon’s refusal was 229 to 202, with only nine Republicans voting to enforce compliance. The constitutional issue at stake is whether Congress shall have the power to constrain the excesses of the president. It is most unusual to see politicians voluntarily diminish their own authority.
For example, some Republican senators have decided to deviate from the customary voice vote for approval of U.S. attorneys appointed by the president in order to challenge Biden’s selection of Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins. They object to her strategy of not prosecuting a number of petty crimes in order to enable her staff to work on more serious offenses.
So now our Republican U.S. senators are more concerned with “trespassing, disturbing the peace, and disorderly conduct” rather than the appropriate limits of the power of the president. Republicans have yet to condemn the fraudulent assertion that the 2020 presidential election was rigged.