Trial begins for ex-Trump adviser Steve Bannon for defying Jan. 6 committee subpoena

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Trial begins for ex-Trump adviser Steve Bannon for defying Jan. 6 committee subpoena

Jury selection begins Monday for the contempt of Congress trial of former Trump adviser Steve Bannon. File Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI | License Photo

Steve Bannon, a former top White House adviser under President Donald Trump, will begin his trial on Monday on contempt of Congress charges for defying a subpoena to testify before the House Jan. 6 committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Bannon was indicted on two counts of contempt for refusing to comply with the subpoena that sought testimony and documents about a meeting that was held on the night of Jan. 5, 2021. Although Bannon was a White House adviser for just seven months, the panel believes he still had communications with Trump until the end of his presidency in January 2021.

Bannon, 68, surrendered to federal agents in Washington, D.C., last November and pleaded not guilty to the charges, setting up the legal case which he threatened to turn into “the misdemeanor from hell” for President Joe Biden’s administration.

“We’re taking down the Biden regime,” he said then outside of the courthouse.

The proceedings are set to begin with jury selection on Monday as U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols said he was “hopeful” the court can find a jury that’s not been closely following the Jan. 6 committee’s high-profile public hearings and doesn’t know much about Bannon to fairly hear the case.

Bannon’s lawyers twice attempted to delay the trial, citing complications brought on by the publicity surrounding the Jan. 6 attack, but Nichols denied both requests.

Nichols also ruled against a series of other motions, eliminating several defenses Bannon’s legal team had raised and prompting his lawyer, David Schoen to ask, “What is the point of going to trial here if there are no defenses?”

The judge simply responded, “Agreed.”

The committee subpoenaed Bannon, who left the White House in August 2017, last September and said he was supposedly present at a Jan. 5 meeting to convince lawmakers to block the certification of Biden’s electoral victory. He also allegedly spoke with Trump on Dec. 30 and urged him to focus on Jan. 6.

Bannon’s lawyers have argued that Trump invoked executive privilege to shield their conversations from the House panel’s inquiries, but Nichols said it is not clear that Trump invoked the privilege or whether he has the ability to do so as a former president.

Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications Daniel Scavino, who also defied subpoenas from the committee, also initially faced contempt of Congress charges.

Both Meadows and Scavino discussed the terms and limits of potential testimony and executive privilege claims with the committee, and Meadows turned over thousands of text messages and communications with members of Congress and other White House aides.

Earlier this month, Bannon agreed to testify before the Jan. 6 committee after Trump said he would waive his claim of executive privilege, stating that Bannon had been treated “unfairly” and forced to “spend vast amounts of legal fees.”

The committee said that it would not negotiate terms for Bannon to appear for testimony until he produced the subpoenaed documents.

If convicted Bannon faces at least one year in jail and a fine of $100,000.

Monday’s jury selection comes ahead of the Jan. 6 committee’s eighth public hearing, which is scheduled for prime-time on Thursday. The hearing will focus on Trump’s actions between the end of his “Save America” rally on Jan. 6, 2021, and when he publicly told the rioters to go home about three hours later.

Thompson said that Thursday’s hearing will be the last one “at this point,” although the committee has said that there could be more hearings in August or September.

House committee holds 7th hearing on Jan. 6 Capitol attack

Trial begins for ex-Trump adviser Steve Bannon for defying Jan. 6 committee subpoena

Former Oath Keepers spokesman Jason Van Tatenhove prepares to testify before the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol during the committee’s seventh public hearing in Washington on July 12. Photo by Ken Cendeno/UPI | License Photo

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