Former Trump White House official Steve Bannon was found guilty of contempt of Congress on Friday after he ignored a subpoena from the partisan House Jan. 6 committee.
The Department of Justice charged Bannon with two counts of contempt of Congress after he ignored a subpoena from the House Jan. 6 committee. Bannon pleaded not guilty.
Bannon claimed executive privilege precluded him from appearing before the committee to talk about the Jan. 6, 2020, attack on the U.S. Capitol, though prosecutors noted that he left the White House in 2017.
The defense argued that “the entire foundation of the government’s case” rested on the testimony of a biased January 6th Committee staffer named Kristen Amerling.
“You need to consider whether a witness has a friendship or hostility towards anybody connected with the case, that some something you need to consider,” Bannon lawyer Evan Corcoran said.
Corcoran told the jury that Amerling had a partisan interest in the outcome of the case. “She’s been doing committee work for Democrats for 20 years. She has a relationship with one of the prosecutors on the case, Mrs. Gaston. It goes back 15 years. She’s contributed her own money to Democratic causes.”
Corcoran argued that politics were at play in the case.
“Prosecution has to be based on unbiased neutral evidence, politics can play no role, and Steve Bannon is innocent,” he said.
“It is clearly politically motivated,” said Canadian lawyer Viva Frei Friday afternoon, as he covered the trial live for Bannon’s War Room Pandemic podcast. “Whether or not under the strictest letter of the law Bannon actually committed Contempt of Congress … the exceedingly rare circumstances under which anyone has been indicted and gone to trial for Contempt of Congress should show you that this is not about justice, this is not about the importance of the alleged crimes, this is about about politics, and the importance of making examples of people with big platforms who are influential, and setting an example for everybody else.”
Bannon is facing 30 days to a year in prison for each of the two misdemeanor charges.
“I only have one disappointment and that is the gutless members of that show trial committee, the J6 Committee didn’t have the guts to come down here and testify in open court,” he said outside of court following the verdict.
Steve Bannon: "I only have one disappointment and that is the gutless members of that show trial committee, the J6 Committee didn't have the guts to come down here and testify in open court." pic.twitter.com/jkpJaKqo70
— CSPAN (@cspan) July 22, 2022
During an appearance on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight Friday evening, Bannon said he “100 percent” expected this outcome.
“The elites that run this country—this is exactly how they want to run it,” he said.