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Capitol riot commission chair says ‘no question’ Trump allies planned 6 January attack beforehand

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The chairman of the House select panel investigating the 6 January attack on the US Capitol said on Sunday that Steve Bannon’s testimony is crucial to understanding the premeditated nature of the attack.

Speaking with Margaret Brennan on CBS’s Face the Nation, Rep Bennie Thompson reacted to unearthed footage of Mr Bannon predicting chaos and “all hell” breaking loose at the event on a podcast just a day before 6 January.

Ms Brennan then asked the chairman: “How premeditated was this attack?”

“Well, there's no question,” said the committee’s leading Democrat, who added: “[T]he worst kept secret in America is that [former President] Donald Trump invited individuals to come to Washington on 6 January.”

Mr Thompson then went on to explain why Mr Bannon, who faces potential penalties for refusing to comply with the committee’s subpoenas if the Justice Department takes action, was so crucial of a witness for the panel to examine.

“Steve Bannon was part of the conversation and the promotion of 6 January, the very podcast we just listened to talks about it,” said Mr Thompson.

“Steve Bannon was in the war room, and he was in the Willard Hotel, doing a lot of things, so that's why we subpoenaed him, that's why we felt it was important for the committee and staff to depose him,” he said.

Mr Bannon is one of several former top aides to Mr Trump subpoenaed by the committee; he is the only one, however, who has resisted the panel’s requests for information to the point where a contempt of Congress vote has occurred.

A number of Republicans voted with every Democrat in the House to charge Mr Bannon with contempt; if found guilty, he would face fines and up to a year in jail.

The 6 January committee has also sought information from former Defense Department official Kash Patel, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, and others in the former president’s orbit as it seeks to unravel the extend of the organisation that occurred before hundreds of rioters stormed the US Capitol, intent on harming lawmakers and/or stopping the certification of President Joe Biden’s election victory.

Mr Trump has publicly called on his allies to resist the committee’s efforts to investigate his role in the attack, and stated that he will aid the legal defense efforts of any who try to fight the panel’s subpoenas.

The former president continues to spread misinformation regarding the results of the 2020 election as he remains the top candidate in most GOP voters’ minds for the party’s 2024 presidential nomination.

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