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Trump ally Steve Bannon released without bail in Jan. 6 contempt case

Steve Bannon, talk show host and former White House advisor to former President Donald Trump, arrives at the FBI’s Washington field office to turn himself in to federal authorities after being indicted for refusal to comply with a congressional subpoena over the January 6 attacks on the U.S. Capitol in Washington, November 15, 2021.

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

Former Trump advisor Steve Bannon was released without bail Monday after surrendering to federal authorities in Washington, D.C., where he faces criminal charges after defying a subpoena from the lawmakers investigating the deadly Capitol invasion.

Bannon, 67, was charged with two counts of contempt of Congress following his refusal to comply with demands to produce documents and sit for a deposition as part of that investigation.

Each count of contempt of Congress is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $100,000.

Bannon will be subject to general supervision requirements as part of the conditions of his release, Magistrate Judge Robin Meriweather said during Bannon’s brief initial appearance. He will have to regularly report to pretrial services and alert them to any plans to travel outside Washington.

Bannon has also surrendered his passport and agreed not to obtain any other international travel documents.

Bannon did not enter a plea at the hearing. He is scheduled to appear before U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, on Thursday at 11 a.m. ET.

Appearing outside the FBI’s Washington field office before turning himself in, Bannon claimed he and his allies were “taking down the Biden regime.”

“I want you guys to stay focused, stay on message,” Bannon said in remarks being livestreamed to a right-wing social media platform.

Bannon is just one name on a growing list of Trump’s associates called to cooperate with the bipartisan House select committee’s probe of Jan. 6, when hundreds of Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol and temporarily stopped Congress from confirming President Joe Biden‘s victory in the 2020 election.

Trump, who never conceded the race to Biden, had spent the prior months spreading an array of conspiracy theories about election fraud and falsely claiming the contest was rigged against him.

Select committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said Friday they are considering contempt proceedings against another Trump ally — former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows — for failing to comply with their subpoena.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., another committee member, on Sunday said a criminal contempt referral for Meadows is already in the works.

A lawyer for Bannon told the House select committee in October that he would not comply with its subpoena because Trump had instructed him not to produce any documents or testimony “concerning privileged material.”

Thompson rejected the reference to executive privilege, the doctrine that allows some executive branch officials to keep some communications confidential, as an argument for noncompliance with a congressional subpoena.

The select committee then sent a contempt resolution to the full House of Representatives, which voted 229-209 to hold Bannon in contempt.

Bannon was a senior White House advisor during the first seven months of Trump’s single term in office. He was fired by Trump years before the 2020 presidential election and the Jan. 6 invasion.

In 2018, Trump trashed Bannon as “sloppy Steve” and mocked him for being “dumped like a dog by almost everyone” after his departure. But Bannon, who hosts a pro-Trump news show, apparently regained the former president’s respect in time to receive a pardon just before Trump left office in January. Bannon had been arrested on charges of allegedly misleading donors about a supposed effort to privately fund construction of a wall on the border with Mexico.

In a statement Sunday, Trump claimed, “This Country has perhaps never done to anyone what they have done to Steve Bannon and they are looking to do it to others, also.”

Trump has sued the committee and the National Archives in an attempt to block the investigators from receiving a raft of White House records from when Trump was president. Trump’s legal team argued many of those records were protected by executive privilege, but Biden had declined to invoke privilege over them.

A federal judge also rejected Trump’s claims, ruling that in disputes about executive privilege, the current president’s stance matters more than that of his or her predecessor.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit granted Trump a request to temporarily delay the release of the records and set an expedited briefing schedule, with oral arguments set for Nov. 30.

Those arguments will be heard by a panel of three judges. Two of them, Robert Wilkins and Patricia Millett, were appointed by former President Barack Obama, while the third, Ketanji Jackson, was appointed by Biden.

Read More: Trump ally Steve Bannon released without bail in Jan. 6 contempt case

2021-11-15 15:23:22

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