WASHINGTON, D.C. – Steve Bannon, former White House Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor to former President Donald Trump, faced a judge Monday on criminal contempt charges after he ignored a subpoena issued by Congress’ January 6 committee.
Federal Magistrate Judge Robin Meriweather released Bannon on his own recognizance, but mandated weekly court check-ins and the surrender of his passport.
Bannon, 67, who did not enter a plea and is due back in court on Thursday, spoke to reporters outside of the courthouse afterwards, where he angrily vowed to go on the offensive against the Biden Administration in response to the decision to prosecute him.
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“I’m telling you right now, this is going to be the misdemeanor from hell for Merrick Garland, Nancy Pelosi, and Joe Biden,” he said. “Joe Biden ordered Merrick Garland to prosecute me from the White House lawn when he got off Marine One, and we’re going to go on the offense. We’re tired of playing defense, we’re going to go in the offense on this, and stand by.”
Bannon also slipped in a jibe at former First Lady – and longtime Trump foe – Hillary Clinton.
“You should understand, Nancy Pelosi has taken on Donald Trump and Steve Bannon, she ought to ask Hillary Clinton how that turned out for them,” he said. “We’re going on the offense.”
Bannon had surrendered to FBI agents Monday morning after having been indicted on Friday.
A Congressional committee is currently investigating the riots at the U.S. Capitol, and Bannon had been subpoenaed on September 24 to testify; after refusing to do so, he was charged with two federal counts of criminal contempt- refusing to appear for a congressional deposition, and the other for refusing to provide documents in response to the committee’s subpoena.
David Schoen, Bannon’s attorney, has stated that his client didn’t refuse to cooperate with Congress. Instead, he argued, he was instructed not to come by another lawyer after Donald Trump had said that his executive privilege would apply to his interactions with Bannon, who is considered a key witness by Congress because he was in touch with Trump on the day of the January 6 riots.
If convicted, Bannon faces a sentence from 30 days to one year in prison on each charge.