Former Trump advisor Stephen K. Bannon was indicted on Friday by a federal grand jury on two counts of contempt of Congress stemming from his refusal to comply with a subpoena issued by the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Bannon is facing a maximum sentence of a year in jail, as well as a fine of $100 to $1,000.
This comes one week after federal agents raided Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe’s home in New York over the missing diary of Joe Biden’s daughter, Ashley Biden.
“Bannon, 67, is charged with one contempt count involving his refusal to appear for a deposition and another involving his refusal to produce documents, despite a subpoena from the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol,” the Department of Justice said in a press release. “An arraignment date has not yet been set in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.”
Over nine years ago, then-attorney general Eric Holder was held in contempt of Congress after he ignored a subpoena related to the criminal and deadly Fast and Furious scandal. Holder was never prosecuted for thumbing his nose at the Republican-led Congress. Other officials who have defied congressional subpoenas over the years reportedly include Henry Kissinger, Janet Reno, Harriet Miers, Joshua Bolton, Lois Lerner, Bryan Pagliano, Bill Barr, and Chad Wolf.
While Republican critics are denouncing the DOJ’s action as a “banana republic” display, Attorney General Merrick Garland today characterized it a “steadfast commitment” to legal principles—including “equal justice under the law.”
“Since my first day in office, I have promised Justice Department employees that together we would show the American people by word and deed that the department adheres to the rule of law, follows the facts and the law and pursues equal justice under the law,” Garland said in a statement. “Today’s charges reflect the department’s steadfast commitment to these principles.”
“As detailed in the indictment, on Sept. 23, 2021, the Select Committee issued a subpoena to Mr. Bannon,” said U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves for the District of Columbia. “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.”
The Democrat-led sham committee said “it had reason to believe that Bannon had information relevant to understanding events related to Jan. 6,” the DOJ press release said.
Bannon, formerly a Chief Strategist and Counselor to the President, has been a private citizen since departing the White House in 2017.
Each count of contempt of Congress carries a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of one year in jail, as well as a fine of $100 to $1,000. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Trump’s legal team has argued that Bannon shouldn’t comply with the subpoena because the requested information is protected by the former president’s executive privilege. Team Trump submitted a memo to Trump’s website announcing a “lawsuit to defend executive privilege.”
“The January 6th Committee is a partisan sham to distract Americans from the Democrats’ policies that are killing and robbing Americans,” the memo stated.
The committee says it wants Bannon’s documents and testimony because he was in touch with Trump before the Jan. 6 incident, because he tried to get Trump to focus on the congressional certification of the election results, and because he said on Jan. 5 that “all hell is going to break loose” the next day.
Former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows on Friday also refused to comply with a subpoena to appear before the partisan panel.
Meadows had previously indicated he would not appear despite a threat from the committee that it would seek to hold him in contempt if he defied their subpoena.
Other Trump allies who have been subpoenaed by the committee include attorney and former Acting United States Secretary of Defense Kash Patel, former Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino, former Trump campaign manager William Stepien, senior adviser Jason Miller, former national executive assistant to the campaign Angela McCallum, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, lawyer John Eastman, and former Commissioner of the New York Police Department Bernard Kerik.