Steve Bannon was indicted for contempt of Congress on Friday. He is expected to turn himself in on Monday.
Trump advisor Steve Bannon was indicted by a federal grand jury Friday for failure to comply with a congressional subpoena regarding the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
- Last month, Bannon was held in contempt of Congress by the committee investigating the events of Jan. 6.
- In refusing the subpoena, Bannon argued he was protected by executive privilege, which allows records and testimony by the president and members of his staff (though Bannon was not an executive staff member at the time) a certain level of shielding from congressional and judicial access.
- Attorney General Merrick Garland praised the indictment, saying the charges “reflect the department’s steadfast commitment” to “pursu[ing] equal justice under the law.”*
- While being held in contempt of Congress is a bipartisan tradition, “criminal indictments for contempt are exceedingly rare” according to the Associated Press.
- Bannon is expected to turn himself in on Monday, followed by a court appearance.
- The New York Times characterized Bannon’s indictment as a commitment by the Biden administration to protect “a fundamental element of democracy, the peaceful transfer of power” while also using it to spell doom for former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
- Mother Jones called the indictment a “big boost” for the Jan. 6 committee, which it said is “likely to deter other officials” from refusing to cooperate.
- CNN’s report gave insight into Bannon’s possible role in the events of Jan. 6, quoting the House committee in saying he appeared “to have played a multi-faceted role in the events” of that day.
- Fox News noted Bannon is unlikely to be imprisoned for the charges, saying it’s been more than four decades since the last indictment on similar charges was jailed.
- Newsmax and Breitbart ran wire reports on the indictment.
- RedState criticized the indictment, calling it “a joke” and saying contempt of Congress is “another law that’s rarely enforced” but that increasingly, the law is being used to persecute Trump-associated figures.
*Biden’s DOJ is definitely committed to equal application of the law, like when parents are labeled domestic terrorists or when states are no longer allowed to determine the laws of their elections. The Department of Justice is being weaponized to prosecute political adversaries.
Yet, the notion of a person outside the executive branch asserting executive privilege could provide a rough road ahead. The Congressional Research Service briefly wrote on the topic in 2019 and noted a 2007 opinion from the White House and Department of Justice argues it could cover non-executive-employee individuals.
© Dallas Gerber, 2021