Steve Bannon has been charged with criminal contempt of Congress after he refused to comply with a subpoena from the January 6 committee.
Bannon, the former chairman of Breitbart News and former senior advisor to President Donald Trump, had been subpoenaed to appear in front of the House Select Committee in charge of investigating the January 6 protests last month, but refused to appear, with his lawyer citing concerns around the executive privilege of President Trump.
As a result, the House of Representatives voted to hold Bannon in criminal contempt of Congress, after the January 6 committee, stacked full of RINOs and Democrats, passed a resolution holding him in contempt. Nine Republicans, including Representatives Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney, who sit on the committee, joined Democrats in voting in favour, resulting in a 229-202 split.
On Friday, the Department of Justice announced that Bannon had been indicted by a federal grand jury on two charges resulting from the Congressional vote. Bannon was charged with one count of refusing to appear for a deposition, and another count of refusing to hand over documents that the subpoeana demanded he produce.
“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,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. “Today’s charges reflect the department’s steadfast commitment to these principles.”
Many conservatives were quick to jump to Bannon’s defence after the news broke. Representative Matt Gaetz, a supporter of Trump’s America First agenda, tweeted that “Steve Bannon did nothing wrong,” while Donald Trump Jr argued that the indictment of Bannon showed that Democrats were now speaking “the quiet part out loud,” and “openly admitting that they prosecute their political enemies when in office.”
Steve Bannon did nothing wrong.
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) November 12, 2021
Saying the quiet part out loud. They’re openly admitting that they prosecute their political enemies when in office. https://t.co/PAaJfUlvJt
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) November 12, 2021
If convicted, Bannon could face a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of one year in jail, and a fine of between $100 to $1000, for each charge of contempt of Congress. While Bannon is expected to hand himself on Monday after a judge issued an arrest warrant, some analysts have argued that such charges are “notoriously difficult to litigate,” with the last successful prosecution being for a co-conspirator in the Watergate scandal in 1974.
Bannon is not the only ally of President Trump who has refused to appear before the January 6 committee. Mark Meadows, the former White House Chief of Staff under Preisdent Trump, was supposed to appear on Friday before the committee, but chose not to, and also faces a potential referral to the Department of Justice. Kayleigh McEnany, former White House press secretary, Stephen Miller, and Michael Flynn, have also all been issued with subpoenas.