US Congress votes to start contempt proceedings against Stephen Miller

Oversight committee to hold a contempt vote against the former Trump adviser Stephen Miller on Wednesday

The House Oversight Committee will vote Wednesday on whether to initiate contempt proceedings against former Trump adviser Stephen Miller for refusing to testify after he was subpoenaed last month to appear about his role in the Russia investigation.

The vote will take place at 10am ET in committee room 334 on Capitol Hill. If the committee votes in favor of formally holding Miller in contempt, he will be summoned to appear in committee on Thursday.

Democratic committee members demanded Miller answer questions about his communications with members of Trump’s transition team, including former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and former national security adviser Michael Flynn. But Miller has refused to answer questions about those conversations, citing the president’s executive privilege.

Some Republicans have also asked Miller to answer questions about a controversial memo written by the former attorney general, Jeff Sessions, that was drafted on a morning in which Trump was scheduled to meet with British prime minister Theresa May.

The Trump administration reportedly postponed that meeting as a result of the Sessions memo, which warned of legal fallout if the president’s aides encouraged the American government to cut off communications with the Russian government or otherwise interfered with its internal affairs.

Three congressional Republicans are supporting Miller’s decision to invoke executive privilege when it comes to his communications with Trump, while five Democratic congressmen have publicly sided with Miller in saying he has the right to use executive privilege to protect certain records.

Democrats have blocked such a vote and refused to vote for contempt until last month when the committee still had 22 Republicans on board. At that time, it was thought Miller would be voted in contempt despite not agreeing to answer some of the questions. But after a series of closed committee meetings, committee leaders said they reached a compromise.

According to the Committee’s website, Miller could invoke “executive privilege” over any records or communications relating to his positions “appearing before a grand jury, providing testimony before a legislative committee” or providing “any oral testimony or written responses” to the committee’s requests.

White House aide and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner may also face contempt proceedings in a different congressional investigation. He was called to testify after the House intelligence committee chairman, Representative Devin Nunes, held up his testimony for six months.

Nunes’s decision to clear the way for the testimony, following a memo drafted by his staff that accused former FBI director James Comey of having planted “insurance policies” in the bureau’s investigations, prompted an internal investigation at the FBI.

There is speculation within the Capitol Hill community that Miller may step down over the upcoming showdown, but it is unclear whether he would still be willing to testify.

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