It’s been a busy few news days for investigating the events of January 6. Earlier on Friday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the indictment of Steve Bannon. The House found Bannon in contempt of Congress last month for his refusal to comply with a subpoena from the January 6 select committee. The two charges against Bannon include a contempt county for his refusal to appear for a deposition and another for his refusal to produce documents. An arraignment date has not yet been set.
Attorney General Merrick Garland spoke of his "department's steadfast commitment to... principles" in a statement included in a press release from the DOJ:
“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 the press release also mentioned, Bannon could face up to a year in jail for each count, if found guilty:
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.
This announcement comes the same day as it was revealed that Mark Meadows, the Chief of Staff for former President Donald Trump, is defying the subpoena he received from the committee. Both Bannon and Meadows were subpoenaed in September, among the first from the committee.
Just moments ago, the January 6 committee tweeted out a statement from Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Liz Cheney (R-WY), the committee's chair and vice chair, respectively.
It’s unfortunate that Meadows has chosen to join a very small group of witnesses who believe they are above the law & are defying a Select Committee subpoena outright.— January 6th Committee (@January6thCmte) November 12, 2021
The Select Committee has talked with more than 150 individuals who are engaging and cooperating with our probe.
And while we’re determined to get all the information we’re seeking, Mr. Meadows, Mr. Bannon, and others who go down this path won’t prevail in stopping the Select Committee’s effort getting answers for the American people about January 6th.— January 6th Committee (@January6thCmte) November 12, 2021
The statement addressed Meadows' failure to appear on Friday morning before the committee, and closed with a brief reference to Bannon, though not directly on the charges.
"And while we’re determined to get all the information we’re seeking, Mr. Meadows, Mr. Bannon, and others who go down this path won’t prevail in stopping the Select Committee’s effort getting answers for the American people about January 6th, making legislative recommendations to help protect our democracy, and helping ensure nothing like that day ever happens again," the statement closed with.
On Thursday night, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia temporarily blocked the January 6 select committee from receiving documents from the Trump White House. Ultimately, the question as to how executive privilege applies in these situations may reach the U.S. Supreme Court.