Steve Bannon has not been quiet about his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. He even admitted he and Trump plotted to “bury” the Biden presidency the day his election was set to be certified by Congress. The certification happened anyway, though not for lack of trying. But now it appears he may wind up paying, however slightly, for his actions. According to The New York Times, the committee investigating that fateful day have voted unanimously to recommend charging Bannon with criminal contempt.
His major slip-up? Obeying his old employer Donald Trump’s orders and refusing to obey a subpoena demanding he provide documents and answer questions pertaining to the events of Jan. 6. As such, the committee declared that he is in “contempt of Congress.” The full House will vote on the matter on Thursday. If voted on, a warrant will be issued for his arrest.
“It’s a shame that Mr. Bannon has put us in this position, but we won’t take no for an answer,” said Missouri Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, head of the committee. “If there’s no accountability for these abuses — if there are different sets of rules for different types of people — then our democracy is in serious trouble.
“Mr. Bannon will comply with our investigation,” Thompson added, “or he will face the consequences.”
Bannon, the committee stated, is believed to “have had multiple roles relevant to this investigation. He helped construct the “Stop the Steal” PR effort to spread awareness of the gathering in D.C. the day the of the certification. He was also involved in events in a “war room” held in a D.C. hotel, which involved he and other Trump allies, including Rudy Giuliani, hoping to overturn the 2020 election.
The day before, on Jan. 5, Bannon hyped up the Capitol event. “Now we’re on, as they say, the point of attack — the point of attack tomorrow,” Bannon told his listeners. “It’s going to kick off. It’s going to be very dramatic.” He added, “It’s not going to happen like you think it’s going to happen,” promising it would be “extraordinarily different. And all I can say is: Strap in.”
Bannon and his lawyers have cited “executive privilege,” as Trump himself has, which keeps certain official communications secret as part of a president’s prerogative. Thing is, Trump is no longer president and Bannon, formerly his Chief Strategist, was no longer in his employ during the day’s events. But maybe there’s another part of their plan, as per NYT:
Many Democrats fear that case, as well as any the Justice Department might decide to bring against Mr. Bannon, may drag on for months, potentially long enough for Republicans to gain the House majority in 2022 and bury the inquiry — and with it, any hope of revealing fresh information about what precipitated the riot.
In other words, clog the courts with possibly frivolous lawsuits and delay, delay, delay. But maybe that old line won’t work this time. Should the House vote for his arrest, he faces a jail sentence up to a year and a fine of up to $100,000. And this time, he doesn’t have a sitting president to bail him out.