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Steve Bannon indicted for contempt of Congress

Steve Bannon indicted for contempt of Congress
Steve Bannon indicted for contempt of Congress 03:07

Steve Bannon, who was a top adviser to former President Donald Trump, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on two counts of contempt of Congress for his failure to comply with a subpoena from the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, the Justice Department announced Friday.

Bannon is expected to turn himself in Monday morning and appear in court that afternoon.

He is charged with one contempt count involving his refusal to appear for a deposition, and another involving his refusal to produce documents to the House select committee. 

"In fact," the unsealed indictment reads, "Bannon had not communicated with the Select Committee in any way since accepting service of the subpoena on September 24, 2021." 

Friday's indictment out of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington, D.C. further alleges that Bannon, "made no substantive submission for the Select Committee's deliberations, did not produce documents and communications, did not provide a log of withheld records, did not certify that he had conducted a diligent search for responsive records, did not appear for a deposition, and did not comply with the subpoena in any way."

Bannon, who was a private citizen at the time of the January 6 assault, says Mr. Trump directed him "not to produce documents or give testimony that might reveal information" that the former president's lawyers are trying "to legally protect," according to a letter to the committee from Bannon's attorney obtained by CBS News.

Virginia Election Rally
Political strategist Steve Bannon speaks at an election rally in Richmond, Virginia, Oct. 13, 2021. Steve Helber / AP

The House of Representatives voted in October to hold Bannon in contempt and refer the matter to the Justice Department.

If convicted, Bannon could face a maximum of one year in prison for each charge, according to the Justice Department. 

Attorney General Merrick Garland, who has refused to comment on the matter since the House's criminal referral of Bannon to the Justice Department, released a statement today saying: "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. ... Today's charges reflect the department's steadfast commitment to these principles."

The select committee's Chairman Bennie Thompson and Vice Chair Liz Cheney said in a statement, "Steve Bannon's indictment should send a clear message to anyone who thinks they can ignore the Select Committee or try to stonewall our investigation: no one is above the law." They added they will "not hesitate to use the tools at our disposal to get the information we need."

A White House official tells CBS News they will not comment on Bannon's indictment. 

The indictment comes on the same day that Mr. Trump's former White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, followed Bannon's lead in not complying with a subpoena from the House committee. 

Several other former Trump administration officials have also been subpoenaed by the committee, including former press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, senior adviser Stephen Miller, and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Andres Triay contributed reporting.

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