Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon turns himself in on contempt of Congress charge, faces up to a year in jail

Steve Bannon, a one-time top adviser to former President Donald Trump, surrendered to federal authorities on Monday after a grand jury returned an indictment late last week for contempt of Congress.

The top podcaster and former Breitbart News chief was set to appear for a hearing later Monday after he was indicted for failing to respond to a subpoena issued by the House Select Committee on Jan. 6.

Bannon is facing a pair of charges related to criminal contempt of Congress — one for failing to show up on Oct. 14 for a deposition and another for refusing to provide the Jan. 6 panel with documents.

The Justice Department filed charges against Bannon on Friday. If convicted, he faces a minimum of 30 days behind bars and a maximum of a year in jail, as well as fines from $100 to $1,000.

“Flanked by a man holding a ‘coup plotter’ sign as he entered into federal custody on Monday, Bannon briefly spoke to supporters on a livestream on the right-wing Gettr platform,” The Hill reported, a reference to the new Twitter-like social media platform that has actually declared itself apolitical and non-partisan.

“I want you guys to stay focused, stay on message. Remember signal, not noise,” Bannon said. “I don’t want anybody to take your eye off the ball of what we do every day.”

The Justice Dept. filing comes amid rising pressure on the Jan. 6 committee as members face a growing number of former White House officials choosing not to cooperate under claims of executive privilege, including former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, who did not show up for a deposition on Friday.

However, Bannon may be attempting to portray himself as a martyr for the former president, according to some involved observers.

“Mr. Bannon will comply with our investigation or he will face the consequences. Maybe he’s willing to be a martyr to the disgraceful cause of whitewashing what happened on January 6th — of demonstrating his complete loyalty to the former president,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the committee’s chairman said regarding Bannon, after the panel initially voted to refer him to the DOJ on contempt charges last month.

“So I want other witnesses to understand something very plainly: if you’re thinking of following the path Mr. Bannon has gone down, you’re on notice that this is what you’ll face,” Thompson noted further.

In recent weeks, according to Politico, Bannon has expanded his legal team as he prepares to fight the charges. He has hired Trump impeachment attorney David Schoen and Evan Corcoran to represent him.

A former federal prosecutor, Corcoran is also representing U.S. Capitol Police officer Michael Riley who has been charged with obstructing justice after telling a rioter to delete video evidence from his social media accounts.

The Jan. 6 committee wanted to depose Bannon for being close to Trump and for attending meetings at the Willard Hotel shortly before the riot broke out.

“You have been identified as present at the Willard Hotel on Jan. 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 Jan. 6,” the panel noted in an earlier letter to Bannon.

“You are also described as communicating with then-President Trump on Dec. 30, 2020, and potentially other occasions, urging him to plan for and focus his efforts on Jan. 6. Moreover you are quoted as saying, on Jan. 5, 2021, that ‘[a]ll hell is going to break loose tomorrow,'” the letter continued.

Jon Dougherty


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