Congress votes to despise Steve Bannon in U.S. Capitol riots probe
Bannon, 67, faces two counts of contempt – one for refusing to provide documents related to the January 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol to congressional investigators, and the other for not agreeing to sit for a deposition, the Justice Department said. in a press release.
Each count could mean between 30 days to a year behind bars and a maximum fine of $ 1,000, according to the Justice Department.
The subpoena issued to Bannon on September 23, 2021 was for him to appear before the House of Representatives select committee and produce documents of interest.
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Bannon is said to have relevant information about the events of January 6, according to the select committee’s summons. The committee said Bannon had made public statements suggesting he knew in advance that “extreme events” would take place on January 6.
Bannon said in a Jan. 5 podcast that “hell is going to break loose tomorrow”.
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Bannon was chief strategist and advisor to former US President Donald Trump until 2017 and has been a private citizen ever since. He also played a leading role in Trump’s election in 2016 and previously headed Breitbart News, a right-wing platform.
The indictment comes as a second witness, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, resisted a similar subpoena from the committee on Friday. Panel chairman, Mississippi Representative Bennie Thompson, said he would recommend contempt charges against Meadows next week.
If Meadows is found in contempt by the entire House, the Justice Department could also lay charges against him.
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Bannon’s indictment shows the Justice Department’s “unwavering commitment” to ensuring the agency upholds the rule of law, said Attorney General Merrick Garland.
This is not the first legal peril Bannon faces. In August last year he was taken off a luxury yacht and convicted of allegations he, along with three of his associates, scammed donors trying to fund a southern border wall. He was pardoned by Trump in the final hours of his presidency.
– With files from The Associated Press, Reuters and Eric Stober