- Steve Bannon, was accused with contempt of US Congress for defying a subpoena issued to him
- The House committee had called him on September 23 but Bannon declined to claim protection of Trump’s presidential executive privilege
- Steve Bannon was not working in the White House during the recent US elections
On Friday, Steve Bannon, who is a one-time senior adviser to former President Donald Trump was accused with contempt of US Congress for defying a subpoena issued to him by a select committee of the House of Representatives which is involved in probing the January 6 insurrection.
On Monday, Bannon will turn himself into authorities. If condemned on the two counts on which he was charged by the grand jury, one for denying to appear before the committee and the other for refusing to turn over documents, he will have to serve two years in prison and $2,000 as fine.
The House committee had called him on September 23 but Bannon declined, claiming the protection of Trump’s presidential executive privilege, which defends the American president (and former presidents) and his aides from legal challenges for actions taken while in office.
The indictment was notified by the US attorney for Washington DC (District of Columbia) after it was cleared by attorney general Merrick Garland in a much-predicted move that presages similar consequences for several other members of the Trump orbit who have either claimed executive privilege to confront the committee’s subpoena- like former chief of staff Mark Meadows- or proposes to.
Garland voiced, “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 further added that today’s charges reflect the department’s steadfast commitment to these principles.
The committee had called Steve Bannon stating that it had reason to believe he had information pertaining to the January 6 insurrection. The subpoena noted, “You have been identified as present at the Willard Hotel (which is just a block from the White House and has been a popular hotel for the Indian Prime Ministers and officials on an official visit to DC) on January 5, 2021, during an effort to persuade members of Congress to block the certification of the election the next day, and in relation to other activities on January 6. Moreover, you are quoted as stating, on January 5, 2021, that ‘(a)ll hell is going to break loose tomorrow.”
Around hundreds of Donald Trump supporters had raged at a joint session of US Congress on January 6 to bar the certification of Joe Biden as president. The insurrection, as the incident has been described officially, was incited by Trump’s false claims of election fraud behind his defeat in the November polls.
The committee has issued subpoenas to nearly 20 aides of the former president, who involve Meadows and former senior adviser Stephen Miller and former White House spokesperson Kayleigh MCEnany, who were working with President Trump at that time in the White House.
Nonetheless, Steve Bannon was not working in the White House then. Trump had dismissed him in 2017 but kept him on his speed dial as an adviser. Bannon played a crucial role in amplifying Trump’s lies about election fraud, as did the former president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and others.