Steve Bannon indicted for contempt of Congress in failed coup d’etat probe

Steve Bannon, an ally of disgraced former President Donald Trump, was indicted Friday by a federal grand jury on two counts of contempt of Congress for ignoring a subpoena issued by the House select committee investigating the deadly attempted coup d’etat on Jan. 6.

Bannon, 67, refused to show up to testify to the committee about the attempted coup d’etat that disrupted Congress during its certification of the Electoral College vote.

Bannon was indicted today by a federal grand jury on two counts of contempt of Congress stemming from his failure to comply with a subpoena issued by the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol.

Bannon is charged with one contempt count involving his refusal to appear for a deposition and another involving his refusal to produce documents, despite a subpoena from the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol.

An arraignment date has not yet been set in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

“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,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “Today’s charges reflect the department’s steadfast commitment to these principles.”

“As detailed in the indictment, on Sept. 23, 2021, the Select Committee issued a subpoena to Mr. Bannon,” said U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves for the District of Columbia. “The subpoena required him to appear and produce documents to the Select Committee, and to appear for a deposition before the Select Committee. According to the indictment, Mr. Bannon refused to appear to give testimony as required by subpoena and refused to produce documents in compliance with a subpoena.”

In its subpoena, the Select Committee said it had reason to believe that Bannon had information relevant to understanding events related to Jan. 6. Bannon, formerly a Chief Strategist and Counselor to the President, has been a private citizen since departing the White House in 2017.

Each count of contempt of Congress carries a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of one year in jail, as well as a fine of $100 to $1,000. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office. The case is being prosecuted by the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.

Saturday, Nov. 6, marked 10 months since the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol that disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress in the process of affirming the presidential election results. 

The government continues to investigate losses that resulted from the breach of the Capitol, including damage to the Capitol building and grounds, both inside and outside the building.

According to a May 2021 estimate by the Architect of the Capitol, the attack caused approximately $1.5 million worth of damage to the U.S. Capitol building.

About 675 defendants from nearly all 50 states have been arrested and charged in either District or Superior Court.

Officials say at least 140 police officers were assaulted at the Capitol during the riot, including 80 U.S. Capitol Police and 60 officers from the Metropolitan Police Department.

Only 40 defendants have been charged with conspiracy, and none have been indicted for sedition, inssurection, or felony murder despite the seriousness of the actions that transpired that day.

On January 6, 2021, a mob of President Donald Trump supporters attacked the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. seeking to overturn his defeat in the 2020 presidential election by disrupting the joint session of Congress assembled to count electoral votes that would formalize President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

The Capitol Complex was locked down and lawmakers and staff were evacuated, while rioting terrorists assaulted law enforcement officers, vandalized property and occupied the building for several hours.

Five people died either shortly before, during, or following the event: one was shot by Capitol Police, another died of a drug overdose, and three succumbed to natural causes.

Many people were injured, including 140 police officers. Four officers who responded to the attack died by suicide within seven months.

Called to action by Trump, thousands of his supporters gathered in Washington, D.C., to support his false claim that the 2020 election had been “stolen by emboldened radical-left Democrats” and to demand that Vice President Mike Pence and Congress reject Biden’s victory.

Starting at noon on January 6, at a “Save America” rally on the Ellipse, Trump repeated false claims of election irregularities and said, “If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore”.

Trump has not been criminally charged for inciting the attempted coup d’état.

During and after his speech, thousands of attendees walked to the Capitol and hundreds breached police perimeters as Congress was beginning the electoral vote count. Many in the crowd broke into the building, occupying, vandalizing, and looting it, assaulting Capitol Police officers and reporters, and attempting to locate lawmakers to capture and harm.

Gallows had been erected west of the Capitol and some rioters chanted “Hang Mike Pence” after he rejected false claims by Trump and others that the vice president could overturn the election results.

Some vandalized and looted the offices of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D‑CA) and other members of Congress.

With building security breached, Capitol Police evacuated and locked down both chambers of Congress and several buildings in the Capitol Complex.

Rioting terrorists occupied the empty Senate chamber while federal law enforcement officers defended the evacuated House floor.

Pipe bombs were found at each of the Democratic National Committee and Republican National Committee headquarters, and Molotov cocktails were discovered in a vehicle near the Capitol.

Trump refused to send in the National Guard to quell the mob.

Later that afternoon, in a Twitter video, he reasserted that the election was “fraudulent”, but told his supporters to “go home in peace”.

The Capitol was clear of rioters by mid-evening, and the counting of the electoral votes resumed and completed in the early morning hours of January 7. Pence declared President-elect Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris victorious.

Pressured by his administration, the threat of removal, and many resignations, Trump later committed to an orderly transition of power in a televised statement.

A week after the riot, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives impeached Trump for incitement of insurrection, making him the only U.S. president to have been impeached twice.

In February, after Trump had left office, the Republican-controlled Senate acquitted him in a 57-to-43 vote in favor of conviction, which fell short of a two-thirds majority (requiring 67 votes).

The House passed a bill to create a bipartisan independent commission to investigate the attack, modeled after the 9/11 Commission, but it was blocked by Republicans in the Senate, so the House approved a House select committee with seven Democrats and two Republicans to investigate instead.

Dozens of people present in Washington, D.C. on the day, including some who took part in the riot, were found to be listed in the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Database, most as suspected white supremacists.

At least 40 members of anti-government groups, including the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, and Three Percenters, were charged with conspiracy for allegedly staging planned missions at the Capitol, but the vast majority of the 691 people charged with crimes relating to the riot had no known affiliation with far-right groups, and did not plan the riot in advance.

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