Former White House adviser Steve Bannon gives a thumbs up to a supporter as he departs Federal Court in Washington, D.C., in November 2021. Bannon was indicted for contempt of Congress for refusing to appear before the commission investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. File Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI | License Photo
Former President Donald Trump is considering waiving a claim of executive privilege for Steve Bannon, his longtime political adviser, that would allow him to testify before the U.S. House committee investigating the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Bannon, who was first subpoenaed by the committee in September 2021, has pleaded not guilty to criminal contempt charges filed against him in November for failing to comply with the congressional subpoena. He is expected to face trial this month.
Trump is considering penning a letter to Bannon acknowledging that his former chief strategist had been granted executive privilege when he was first subpoenaed to be used in his defense if Bannon can reach a deal on the terms of a potential appearance before the panel, the Washington Post reported.
However, federal prosecutors don’t believe Bannon was shielded from the congressional subpoena by executive privilege, CNN reported while confirming that Trump was weighing whether to write the letter.
It remains unclear what impact the letter would have on Bannon’s trial for the contempt charges. He faces a sentence of up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000 if convicted.
Some of the former president’s advisers have been trying to convince Trump not to send the letter, the Washington Post reported.
Bannon left the White House in August 2017 but was an outspoken supporter of false claims that Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election because of voter fraud — and was a private citizen at the time of the insurrection at the Capitol when he said on his podcast that “all hell is going to break loose.”
“We believe Mr. Bannon has information valuable to our probe. He was deeply involved in the so-called ‘stop the steal’ campaign,” Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, the committee’s chairman, said in October.
“He was reportedly in a war room meeting the day before the riot and had been pressing the former President to try to stop the counting of the electoral college ballots.”
Bannon was previously given a full pardon by Trump after he was charged with fraud for a scheme in which he and three others were accused of stealing millions from donors seeking to help fund Trump’s border wall.