Utah’s House Republicans vote against holding Bannon in contempt in Jan. 6 investigation

Rep. Chris Stewart calls the House Committee investigating the insurrection ‘political theater’

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Rep. Chris Stewart takes the stage before delegates attending the Utah Republican Party’s 2021 Organizing Convention at the Maverik Center in West Valley City on Saturday, May 1, 2021, as they return to an in-person format after the pandemic forced the nominating convention to go online last year.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted 229 to 202 on Thursday to find Steve Bannon, a former adviser to former President Donald Trump, in criminal contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the committee investigating the attempted insurrection on Jan. 6. All four of Utah’s Republican House members voted against the contempt charge.

Nine Republicans joined all House Democrats voting to refer the criminal contempt charge to the Justice Department. Among those who voted in favor was Wyoming congresswoman Liz Cheney, who recently held a fundraiser for Republican Blake Moore in Salt Lake City.

A statement from Rep. Chris Stewart’s office provided to The Tribune cast doubt on the legitimacy of the investigation into the Jan. 6 attack.

“Speaker Pelosi’s select committee was created with a singular purpose: Political theater,“ Stewart said. “That’s why I voted against its creation, and that’s why I will continue to ignore her partisan games.”

He added there are other issues Congress should be focusing on right now instead of Thursday’s floor vote.

“Right now, here at home, there is a crisis at the southern border, a spike in violent crime, record-high inflation, and ballooning national debt. Right now, beyond our borders, Americans are still stranded in Afghanistan, China is testing hypersonic missiles, and Russia is conducting regular cyberattacks. Those are the issues that Americans care about, and those are the issues that elected officials should spend their time on the floor addressing,” Stewart said.

Utah’s other House members did not respond to a request for comment.

The bipartisan committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot believes Bannon may have information about the planning that led to the storming of the U.S. Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters. That information includes conversations Bannon had with Trump leading up to the event.