The commission subpoenaed Bannon, saying it wanted to question him about activities at the Willard Hotel the night before the riots, when supporters of President Donald Trump tried to persuade Republican lawmakers to reverse the 2020 election results. The committee said Bannon spoke to Trump by phone that morning and evening, the last time after Bannon predicted on Jan. 6 that “all hell will break loose.” some foreknowledge of extreme events to take place the following day.”
By refusing to testify and hand over documents, Bannon claimed administrative law, and his attorney said he was approached by Trump attorney Justin Clark and told him not to respond.
However, fights over executive privileges are not expected to be the focus of the process. At a hearing this month, U.S. District Judge Carl J. Nichols dismissed several of Bannon’s defenses, including the executive’s claim, and mainly narrowed Bannon’s defense at trial to whether he understood the deadlines for responding to lawmakers’ demands.
Nichols agreed with the plaintiffs’ argument that under a binding legal precedent, Bannon’s reasons for failing to comply with the House panel subpoenas were irrelevant if he deliberately ignored them. The judge also disputed whether former President Trump claimed executive privilege for Bannon, or whether it would cover up the talks in question because the latter left the White House in 2017 and was a private individual at the time.
Bannon faces trial, vows to go ‘medieval’, but judge says meh
Bannon, a former media executive who bragged about creating a “platform for the alt-right,” has been a proponent of a “populist-nationalist” movement since he chaired Trump’s campaign for part of 2016. While denying responsibility for the Jan. 6 riots by Trump supporters, he considered himself an ideological architect of efforts to topple the election and the Jan. 6 Trump rally. His trial comes amid a surge of interest in hearings the Jan. 6 commission held to investigate the 2021 Capitol breach.
The charges of contempt of the crime are each punishable by at least 30 days or up to one year in prison if convicted. However, the three offenders who pleaded guilty to the rarely indicted crime of withholding information from Congress in the 1990s have been given probation in plea deals with U.S. prosecutors.
This story is being updated. Devlin Barrett contributed to this report.