Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump’s former adviser and host of the War Room podcast, is facing a potential criminal contempt charge for refusing to comply with a subpoena brought by the the committee investigating the January 6 siege on the Capitol.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), the chairman of the committee, said in a statement on Thursday in which he announced that the select committee would vote on Tuesday whether to adopt a contempt report.
“Mr. Bannon has declined to cooperate with the Select Committee and is instead hiding behind the former President’s insufficient, blanket, and vague statements regarding privileges he has purported to invoke. We reject his position entirely,” Thompson said.
Bannon’s attorney has told the committee that his client would not appear for testimony until the issue of executive privilege is resolved. Trump has asserted executive privilege over records sought by the committee, but the Biden White House has said that it is not warranted.
Bannon was a private citizen at the time of the January 6 siege, having served as chief adviser to Trump for the first six months of his White House tenure. In a podcast last month, Bannon acknowledged that he consulted with Trump in advance of his January 6 rally, and Bob Woodward and Bob Costa also highlighted his role in their book Peril. They wrote that Bannon encouraged Trump’s defiance and to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to reject the Electoral College results.
Those convicted of contempt of Congress face a fine and between one month and 12 months in prison. But the process for a conviction can be a long one. If a contempt referral passes the committee, it then must pass the full House. The concept report would then be referred to the U.S. Attorney in the District of Columbia, who would then bring it before a grand jury.