The Department of Justice has indicted a former Trump adviser for failure to comply with a subpoena issued by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot on Capitol Hill.
According to reports, Steve Bannon is now facing two counts of contempt of Congress.
DOJ reacts to committee vote
Bannon is one of several individuals with ties to former President Donald Trump who have been subpoenaed by the Democratic-led congressional panel.
The committee, which consists entirely of Democrats and two anti-Trump Republicans, called on Bannon to testify regarding his proximity to the then-president before, during, and after the events of Jan. 6. He refused to comply.
Bannon’s attorney told the committee that he would not be testifying because Trump has claimed that some of the information being sought by lawmakers is protected by executive privilege. When Bannon did not show up to testify by the deadline, the committee voted to hold him in contempt.
Since then, the question has remained whether the Justice Department would press charges — particularly since doing so could lead to the impression that a Democratic president is using the agency to target GOP rivals.
President Joe Biden, however, has signaled that he wanted the Department of Justice to follow through on the indictment. Now, Attorney General Merrick Garland is doing just that.
“He doesn’t look good in orange”
Garland issued a statement declaring that he is simply upholding the law.
“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.”
If Bannon is convicted, he could face up to one year behind bars and a $1,000 fine for each of the two charges he is facing.
Meanwhile, others within Trump’s inner orbit are facing similar pressure to testify — including former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, who informed the committee this week that he would not be complying with its subpoena.
For his part, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) said he believes that the recent development involving Bannon will convince Meadows to reconsider, insisting that he “is going to realize he doesn’t look good in orange and that he, like so many others, are going to come forward and want to cooperate.”