Steve Bannon indicted for failing to comply with Capitol attack subpoena

Indictment sends 'chilling message' to other witnesses who may defy Congress, US representative says

Stephen Bannon, ex-chief strategist to former president Donald Trump, was indicted by a grand jury on Friday for failing to comply with a congressional subpoena issued by a committee investigating the January 6 insurrection.

Mr Bannon was charged with one count for his refusal to appear for a deposition and another for failure to provide documents related to the investigation, a statement released by the US Department of Justice said.

“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.

“Today’s charges reflect the department’s steadfast commitment to these principles.”

The US House Select Committee believes Mr Bannon possesses relevant information on events related to the January 6 insurrection on the Capitol.

The House of Representatives voted last month to hold Mr Bannon in criminal contempt. Mr Bannon has previously claimed that Mr Trump instructed him not to appear before the committee due to “executive privilege”, which permits presidents to keep certain communication with aides confidential.

Mr Bannon left his post as a senior adviser to Mr Trump in 2017.

Adam Kinzinger, one of two Republicans on the select committee, said Mr Bannon's indictment should send a “chilling message” to other witnesses.

“You cannot ignore Congress,” Mr Kinzinger told CNN. “You're not going to be able to avoid it.”

The indictment comes on the same day that Mark Meadows, former chief of staff under Mr Trump, refused to show up for his scheduled hearing before the committee.

Mr Meadows's lawyer argued it would be inappropriate for him to speak before the committee until a court delivers a ruling on Mr Trump's claim of executive privilege over materials related to the insurrection.

“It would be irresponsible for Mr Meadows to prematurely resolve that dispute by voluntarily waiving privileges that are at the heart of those legal issues,” a statement from Mr Meadows's lawyer reads.

It is unclear whether the committee will seek a contempt referral for Mr Meadows.

An appellate court judge temporarily granted Mr Trump's last-ditch bid to halt the release of his White House records related to January 6. Those records included hundreds of pages of documents, video clips and other materials.

The court set a hearing for November 30 to hear arguments in the case.

The committee this week subpoenaed another 10 former Trump allies in their investigation.

Six of those associates, including former senior adviser Stephen Miller and former press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, were subpoenaed for reportedly scheming to overturn Mr Trump's electoral defeat at a luxury Washington hotel on the evening of the insurrection.

The other targets, including disgraced former national security adviser Mike Flynn, were aids or members of Mr Trump's re-election campaign whom the select committee says were involved in promoting his baseless election fraud theories.

Updated: November 14th 2021, 5:22 AM
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