- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
The US House of Representatives voted last night to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress.
Mr Bannon, a key ally of Donald Trump, had defied a subpoena from the congressional committee investigating the US Capitol riot on Jan 6.
Democrats used their majority in the House to pass a measure to refer the case to the Department of Justice, which will now decide whether to bring criminal charges.
The final vote in the House was 229-202, with every Democrat but only nine Republicans backing the move.
It showed how divided Democrats and Republicans remain over the events of Jan 6 over nine months later.
Republicans have called the committee a "witch hunt," a waste of congressional time, and suggested Mr Bannon was being used as a "Democrat party boogeyman."
Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader in the House, said the subpoena for Mr Bannon to testify before the committee had been "invalid".
The committee is made of seven Democrat members of Congress, and two Republicans - Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger - who are both prominent critics of Mr Trump.
On Tuesday the committee voted to recommend a full vote in the House on holding Mr Bannon in contempt.
It came after Mr Bannon, who was Mr Trump's chief White House strategist, missed a scheduled interview with the committee.
Whether the Justice Department would prosecute Mr Bannon remained unclear and the case could take years to play out
Merrick Garland, the Joe Biden-appointed Attorney General, who heads the Justice Department, said: "If the House of Representatives votes for a referral of a contempt charge the Department of Justice will do what it always does in such circumstances.
"It will apply the facts and the law and make a decision consistent with the principles of prosecution."
The law on contempt of Congress was passed in 1857, and carries a penalty of up to one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.
The last successful prosecution for contempt of Congress was in 1974 when a judge found Watergate conspirator G. Gordon Liddy guilty.
Nancy Pelosi, the Democrat House Speaker, said Mr Bannon had information "that is central" to the committee's investigation of Jan 6, and it would "find the truth."
Meanwhile, Mr Trump last night announced he was launching his own social media venture called "TRUTH Social" after Twitter and Facebook banned him following the events of Jan 6.
The move increased speculation that the former US President is gearing up for another White House run in 2024.
Mr Trump said: "I created TRUTH Social to stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech.
"We live in a world where the Taliban has a huge presence on Twitter, yet your favourite American President has been silenced. This is unacceptable."
He added: "I'm excited to soon begin sharing my thoughts."
People who speak to Mr Trump said he has wanted to set up his own social media company since leaving the White House.
He is said to feel frustrated that he does not have a direct connection with the tens of millions of people who previously followed him on social media.
"TRUTH Social" is expected to launch to invited users next month and then be opened up to others.