Trump Adviser Steve Bannon Indicted on Two Contempt Charges After Defying Jan. 6 Subpoena
20:58 GMT 12.11.2021 (Updated: 20:34 GMT 19.10.2022)
© AP Photo / Mary AltafferPresident Donald Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon waits to be introduced during an ideas festival sponsored by The Economist, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018, in New York. Bannon said he's surprised the #MeToo movement hasn't had more impact on corporate America.
© AP Photo / Mary Altaffer
Following his flouting of a subpoena by a congressional committee, former Donald Trump adviser and Breitbart executive Steve Bannon has been indicted by a federal grand jury for contempt of Congress.
Bannon, 67, is charged with two counts of contempt: one for his refusal to appear for a deposition before the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the US Capitol and another for his refusal to produce documents for the committee.
“As detailed in the indictment, on Sept. 23, 2021, the Select Committee issued a subpoena to Mr. Bannon,” US Attorney Matthew M. Graves for the District of Columbia said in a Department of Justice statement. “The subpoena required him to appear and produce documents to the Select Committee, and to appear for a deposition before the Select Committee. According to the indictment, Mr. Bannon refused to appear to give testimony as required by subpoena and refused to produce documents in compliance with a subpoena.”
Each count carries a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of one year in jail, as well as a fine of between $100 and $1,000, the release notes.
Bannon is expected to surrender himself at a DC court on Monday afternoon, according to NBC.
Following his refusal, the House voted on October 22 to hold the far-right ideologue in contempt of Congress, with just nine Republicans joining the Democratic majority in passing the resolution. Their decision set the DOJ's process in motion.
Bannon is far from the only figure subpoenaed by the committee as part of its investigation of the events surrounding the January 6 insurrection by supporters of then-US President Donald Trump to refuse to cooperate with the probe. Then-US Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Clark, Trump's then-chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and of course Trump himself, have all refused compliance, and Trump has sought through the courts to protect himself and those around him by casting documents sought from the National Archives under the aegis of so-called executive privilege. Federal judges have repeatedly rejected Trump's petitions.
All played major roles in Trump's effort to repudiate the results of the November 2020 US presidential election, which he lost to Democratic candidate Joe Biden, by claiming the ballot count had been fraudulent.
Bannon is accused of encouraging Trump to leave his hideaway in Mar-a-Lago in late December 2020 and go back to Washington, DC, to prepare for a "Stop the Steal" rally on January 6, 2021, that would take place while a joint session of Congress was certifying the results of the Electoral College's votes, which would make the November election results official and remove the last remaining legal barrier to Biden's inauguration two weeks later.
According to Bob Woodward and Robert Costa's book "Peril," which recounts the final months of Trump's presidency, Bannon was part of a January 5 "war room" meeting at the Willard Hotel next to the White House, from which Trump's close cadre of supporters pressured US lawmakers to challenge and repudiate the election results, including Trump's vice president, Mike Pence, who they believed could do so unilaterally as President of the Senate.
Immediately after the January 6 rally outside the White House, thousands of Trump's supporters marched on the US Capitol building, where they quickly overran the few Capitol Police officers assigned to guard duty and stormed the building itself. While they temporarily dispersed Congress, they failed at their goal of erasing the election results, and police and National Guard troops soon pushed them from the building. Tens of thousands of troops subsequently garrisoned the capital city and Biden was sworn in on January 20 under heavy guard.
Wider questions remain about why so few defensive precautions were taken prior to the protest, including why Pentagon brass were so slow to respond to urgent pleas for support by the USCP. The extent to which the riot was coordinated with or by Republican lawmakers and numerous far-right elements, including militia members and neo-Nazi parties, is also not yet fully known.
Five people died in the assault, including a USCP officer and a female rioter shot by an officer outside the House chamber. Trump was subsequently impeached by Congress on accusations of inciting insurrection, but was acquitted by a minority of lawmakers.