Steve Bannon, the former top adviser to Donald Trump, was indicted by a federal grand jury Friday on two charges of contempt of Congress following his refusal to comply with a subpoena from the House select committee investigating the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
The charges stem from Bannon’s failure to produce requested documents and sit for a deposition, according to a press release. Either contempt charge could result in “a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of one year in jail” and a fine of $100 to $1,000.
The select committee issued subpoenas in September to several advisers to former president Trump including his chief of staff Mark Meadows, requesting testimony and documents from those named. Bannon refused to go along with the committee’s requests, citing Trump’s attempt to claim executive privilege. (Trump reportedly told his former advisers not to cooperate with the subpoenas.) In late October, the House voted largely along party lines to hold Bannon in contempt following the committee’s unanimous vote recommending the charge.
The Justice Department’s actions have the potential to set a standard for other former Trump aides who aren’t cooperating with the committee’s investigation. Meadows, who was subpoenaed at the same time as Bannon, did not turn over documents and failed to appear for his own scheduled deposition before the House panel Friday, according to NBC News.
“Mr. Meadows’s actions today — choosing to defy the law — will force the Select Committee to consider pursuing contempt or other proceedings to enforce the subpoena,” Committee chair Bennie G. Thompson and vice-chair Liz Cheney said in a statement. “If his defiance persists and that process moves ahead, the record will reveal the wide range of matters the Select Committee wished to discuss with Mr. Meadows until his decision to hide behind the former President’s spurious claims of privilege.”