Steve Bannon, the former Trump strategist, has been charged with contempt of Congress after refusing to give evidence about the United States Capitol riot. On Friday, the Justice Department said that Bannon had been criminally charged for defying a subpoena issued by a Congressional committee investigating the 6th January attack on the Capitol.
However, the longtime ally of Trump refused to cooperate with the House of Representatives select committee asking for documents and testimony from him, mentioning the insistence of Trump – previously rejected by a judge – that he has a right to keep the requested stuff private under a legal policy called executive privilege.
Steve Bannon has been indicted by a federal grand jury, @SchneiderCNN reports. Prosecutors presented an indictment and arrest warrant to a federal magistrate on Friday afternoon, according to CNN reporters in the magistrate courtroom.
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) November 12, 2021
Bannon could face up to twelve months in prison and a £74,500 ($100000) fine. The former president’s supporters raided the United States Congress building on 6th January as representatives met to certify the election result. Donald Trump, the former Republican President Donald Trump, refused to acknowledge losing the 2020 presidential election to Democratic President Joe Biden last year, making claims – without evidence – of mass voter fraud.
What are the exact charges on Bannon?
It was the primary accusation to appear of the investigation of the House of Representatives Select Committee of the 6th January invasion of the Capitol complex. Moreover, another contempt linked to his refusal to testify for a statement, and the other is his refusal to produce papers for the committee. Bannon’s advisor expected to surrender to officials on Monday, when he would appear in court.
The United States Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a Friday statement that the accusation reflected the steadfast commitment of the Justice Department to the rule of law. Summons documents quote Trump ally Bannon – who currently hosts the right-wing War Room podcast – a saying on the day before the riot that all hell will break loose tomorrow. His lawyers requested that his communications involving Trump be protected.
Will Bannon face prison?
Cases of contempt of Congress are infamously difficult to prosecute. However, the last successful prosecution was in 1974, against a schemer in the Watergate scandal that forced former U.S. President Richard Nixon out of office. In case of clearance from the court, Bannon will not be able his first predicament with the legal system. Before leaving office and the White House in January, former President Trump pardoned his adviser Bannon of charges that he had deceived donors who donated money to fund the construction of a U.S. southern border wall.
What is the current role of President Trump in the current scenario?
Trump urged his former aides to discard all requests to submit to testimonies. Further, he argued that they have the right to withhold confidential material because of executive privilege – a legal principle protecting several White House communications. In Washington, the United States Court of Appeals scheduled to hold a hearing at the month end to rule on the former president’s claim of executive privilege after a lower court rejected it.
Trump is also trying to block visitor logs, a trove of call records, and other White House official documents that congressional investigators are chasing to inquire about the Capitol riot. However, President Biden argued that executive privilege doesn’t become valid in this case.
Is anybody else defying the committee?
The indictment of Bannon came on the same day that a former White House chief of staff in the Trump presidency, Mark Meadows, confronted a similar subpoena to testify before the committee. On Friday, his lawyer said that Meadows had a sharp legal dispute with the committee because of the claims of the former president of executive privilege.
A Mississippi Democrat, Bennie Thompson, stated that the decision of Meadows to confront the law might force the committee to track contempt proceedings just similar to those applied to Bannon. Thompson said that it is unforgettable that Meadows preferred to join a very small number of eyewitnesses who believe they are above the law.
Furthermore, he added that efforts from Bannon, Meadows and other people wouldn’t succeed in stopping the effort of the select committee from getting answers for the American people about the 6th January riot. The House Select Committee issued several subpoenas during the last week and called on several Trump officials to deliver documents and testify about the January riot. They include Stephen Miller, Kayleigh McEnany, former national security adviser Michael Flynn and the former White House press secretary.
History of Criminal Charges on Bannon
The leaders of the committee, Republican Liz Cheney and Democratic Bennie Thompson, stated that the indictment of Steve Bannon should send an open message to anybody who thinks they can ignore the proceedings of the Select Committee or try to obstruct the investigation: they added, no one is above the law. Bannon didn’t respond to the request of CNN to comment.
It is the second time in the last fifteen months that Bannon faced criminal charges. Previously, in August 2020, Bannon faced charges with defrauding donors to the southern border wall, a private fund-raising effort to speed up the wall project of the former president along the United States-Mexican border, and detained on-board a yacht belonging to an escapee Chinese billionaire. Afterward, the former president issued a pardon to Bannon before that criminal case went to trial.
In October, the Democratic-led House voted to hold Trump’s adviser in contempt of Congress. Most of the fellow Republicans of Trump in Congress opposed establishing an independent committee or commission to probe into the events surrounding the 6th January assault. On that day, a crowd of former president’s supporters rioted at the Capitol in a failed attempt to prevent official congressional certification of the election victory of President Biden.
According to the committee, Bannon publicly stated that he knew beforehand about extreme events that would occur on 6th January. On the 5th January podcast, Bannon said that all hell is going to break loose tomorrow. It was up to the Justice Department after the House voted to hold Bannon in contempt to decide whether to bring charges.
Trump Sued the Committee and the National Archives
On 18th October, Trump sued the National Archives and the committee, which holds material dating from his presidency; in an effort to keep documents secret, a judge rejected the suit on Tuesday and said that public interest in learning about the actions of Trump on 6th January was paramount. In response, the former president appealed that ruling.