Steve Bannon charged with contempt of Congresson November 12, 2021 at 9:47 pm

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Former Trump strategist charged after refusing to testify to committee investigating US Capitol riot.

Steve Bannon. File photo

Image source, Getty Images

Former Trump strategist Steve Bannon has been charged with contempt of Congress after refusing to testify about the US Capitol riot on 6 January.

The right-wing media executive had been summoned to testify about what he knew about plans for the riot.

His lawyers argued that his communications involving the former president were protected.

Mr Bannon, 67, could now face up to a year in prison and a $100,000 (£74,522) fine.

This is the first such indictment to come out of the committee’s probe of the 6 January invasion of the Capitol complex.

Trump supporters stormed the US Congress building on 6 January as lawmakers were meeting to certify the election result.

Mr Trump, a Republican, has refused to acknowledge losing the election to Democratic President Joe Biden last year, making claims – without evidence – of mass voter fraud.

Lawmakers are considering similar contempt charges against Mr Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows, who also refused to comply with a subpoena.

In a statement released on Friday, US Attorney General Merrick Garland said the indictment of reflected the justice department’s “steadfast commitment” to the rule of law.

Subpoena documents quote Mr Bannon as saying on his radio show the day before the riot that “all hell is going to break loose tomorrow”.

But Mr Trump had urged his former aides to reject all requests to testify. He argued they have the right to withhold information because of executive privilege – a legal principle that protects many White House communications.

The US Court of Appeals in Washington is scheduled to hold a hearing at the end of this month to rule on Mr Trump’s claim of executive privilege, after it was rejected by a lower court.

The former president is also attempting to block a trove of phone records, visitor logs and other White House documents that congressional investigators are chasing for their Capitol riot inquiry.

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