A jury charged Steve Bannon on Friday, a former adviser to former President Donald Trump, on two counts of criminal contempt after refusing to cooperate with the investigation into the assault on Capitol Hill.
The Justice Department’s decision to indict Bannon came after the US House of Representatives held Bannon in contempt on October 21 for refusing to appear before the investigative committee on the assault on the Capitol, so that present documents and testimonies related to the riot.
Said declaration passed to the Department of Justice, which had to decide whether to proceed with the process.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said the indictment reflects the Justice Department’s “strong commitment” to ensuring the rule of law is upheld.
“From my first day in office, I have promised the employees of the Department of Justice that together we would demonstrate to the American people by word and deed that the department adheres to the rule of law, follows the facts and the law, and seeks equal justice. under the law, “Prosecutor Garland said in a statement announcing the indictment.
Each charge carries a minimum of 30 days in jail and a sentence of up to one year behind bars.
This is not the first time Bannon has faced a legal challenge. In August last year, he was taken off a luxury yacht and arrested on allegations that he and three associates scammed donors who were trying to fund the border wall. Trump then pardoned Bannon in the final hours of his presidency.
Another Trump ally challenged Capitol robbery investigation
The indictment comes when a second witness, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, challenged a similar subpoena from the committee on Friday. The panel chairman, Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, said he will recommend contempt charges against Meadows as well next week.
Meadows had been in discussions with the committee since his subpoena was issued in September, but his attorney said Friday that he has a “sharp legal dispute” with the panel as Trump has claimed executive privilege over the testimony.
Meadows’ refusal to appear comes amid escalating legal battles between the committee and Trump, as the former president has claimed privilege over the documents and interviews lawmakers demand.
The White House said in a letter Thursday that President Joe Biden would waive any privileges that prevented Meadows from cooperating with the committee, prompting his attorney to say that Meadows would not comply.
Meadows, a former Republican congressman from North Carolina, is a key witness for the panel. He was Trump’s top aide in the time between his defeat in the November presidential elections and the insurrection, and he was one of the people who pressured state officials to try to reverse the results.
Dozens of subpoenas and witness interviews
Panel proceedings and attempts to gather information have been delayed as Trump appealed Judge Tanya Chutkan’s rulings to deliver documents related to the day of the Capitol assault. On Thursday, a federal appeals court temporarily blocked the release of some of the White House records the panel seeks, giving the court time to consider Trump’s arguments.
Still, the House panel continues its work, and lawmakers have already interviewed more than 150 witnesses so far in their bid to build the most comprehensive record yet of how a violent mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol and temporarily halted Biden’s certification.
The committee has cited nearly three dozen people, including former White House employees, Trump allies who strategized on how to reverse his defeat, and people who staged the rally on the National Mall on the morning of January 6. While some, like Meadows and Bannon, have refused, others have spoken to the panel and provided documents.