A federal grand jury on Friday indicted former Trump White House strategist Steve Bannon for contempt of Congress over his failure to comply with a subpoena issued by the Democratic-led House Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Bannon was charged with two counts of contempt of Congress — one count involving his refusal to appear for a deposition and another involving his refusal to produce documents. According to the Justice Department, each count of contempt of Congress carries a minimum of 30 days, a maximum of one year in jail, and a fine of between $100 to $1,000. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
“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 announcing the indictment. “Today’s charges reflect the Department’s steadfast commitment to these principles.”
Last month the House voted to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress for defying the panel subpoena and referred the charges to the Justice Department. The vote was 229-202, with nine GOP crossing party lines in joining all 220 Democrats to vote in favor of the resolution.
The House committee issued subpoenas to Bannon and three former Trump officials in September over their role organizing the Jan. 6 “Save America” rally and their discussions with the former president during the hours of the Capitol attack. The subpoenas compel Bannon and the others to produce sought-after documents relevant to the Capitol riot by Oct. 7 and to sit for a deposition the following week, in which they gave Bannon the date of Oct. 14 to appear for depositions.
Bannon defied the subpoena, arguing that the courts should first resolve a case filed by Trump claiming executive privilege over any documents and seeking to block witness testimony.
Garland has been under tremendous political pressure to indict Bannon following the House Oct. 21 referral. Just ahead of the House vote, the Attorney General claimed the Justice Department would not be political when deciding to hold one of their predecessor from the opposite party official with criminal prosecution.
“If the House of Representatives votes for a referral of a contempt charge, the Department of Justice will do what it always does in such circumstance we’ll apply the facts and the law and make a decision, consistent with the principles of prosecution,” Garland said during a House Judiciary hearing last month.