Steve Bannon, a former political adviser to Donald Trump, surrendered to the FBI Monday morning after being charged with contempt of Congress by the Department of Justice (DOJ) last week.
Bannon — who served as a political adviser to Trump during his first year as president and who took part in strategy sessions with Trump’s campaign team in early January — refused to comply with subpoena orders from the select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol building. In September, the panel ordered Bannon to hand over documents and give closed-door testimony relating to the violent breach of the Capitol building by a mob of Trump loyalists.
After the January 6 commission recommended that Bannon be found in contempt, the House in its entirety voted in favor of the measure. On Friday, the DOJ filed formal charges against him.
While announcing the charges, Attorney General Merrick Garland said that his department was taking great precautions to ensure the action was not politically motivated.
“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,” Garland said in a statement.
The former Trump adviser appeared to remain steadfast in his defiance of the subpoena order, recording a promotion for his radio show on his way to surrender himself to the FBI.
“We’re taking down the Biden regime,” Bannon said in the recording.
Bannon faces a fine and a year in jail for each of the two contempt charges he faces.
Even if Bannon’s defiance continues, his detainment by the FBI may encourage other former Trump advisers to comply with subpoena orders, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-California), a member of the January 6 commission, said during a Sunday appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“Now that witnesses see that if they don’t cooperate, if they don’t fulfill their lawful duty when subpoenaed, that they too may be prosecuted, it will have a very strong focusing effect on their decision-making,” Schiff said. “So it’s very positive.”
One individual who may change his tune is former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows. Meadows — who was originally cooperative after being subpoenaed in September — refused to testify on Friday, prompting January 6 commission chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi) to threaten to issue contempt charges against him as well.
“Mr. Meadows’s actions today — choosing to defy the law — will force the Select Committee to consider pursuing contempt or other proceedings to enforce the subpoena,” Thompson said last week.
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