Three months after being convicted of two counts of contempt, federal prosecutors have recommended that former Trump senior advisor Steve Bannon receive the “most severe” sentence available for defying a subpoena by the January 6th Select Committee.
According to the sentencing memo, “From the moment that the Defendant, Stephen K. Bannon, accepted service of a subpoena from the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol (“the Committee”), he has pursued a bad-faith strategy of defiance and contempt.”
By thumbing his nose at the authority of the congressional committee, Bannon showed a willful disregard for the rule of law and the democratic process.
“Respect for the rule of law is essential to the functioning of the United States government and to preserving the freedom and good order this country has enjoyed for more than two centuries,” the federal prosecutors insisted.
After making frivolous claims of executive privilege, even after the former President removed any barriers to his former advisor’s testimony – Bannon still refused to cooperate. Prosecutors wrote:
“Despite the removal of the only purported barrier to his compliance, to this day the Defendant has not produced a single document to the Committee or appeared for testimony. For his sustained, bad-faith contempt of Congress, the Defendant should be sentenced to six months’ imprisonment—the top end of the Sentencing Guidelines’ range—and fined $200,000—based on his insistence on paying the maximum fine rather than cooperate with the Probation Office’s routine pre-sentencing financial investigation.”
While the War Room host was no longer employed by the White House in the months and weeks leading up to the attack on the Capitol, Bannon was present at the Willard Hotel on January 5th — a reported “command center” for the next day’s attempted coup. On his podcast on Jan. 5, 2021, Bannon predicted: “All Hell is going to break loose tomorrow,” according to Law & Crime.
Former Trump attorneys and coup co-conspirators Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman were also present at the Willard – along with Trump pardoned Roger Stone and current Trump attorney Christina Bobb. All are under investigation for their various roles in helping Trump flout the constitution and federal law.
United States Attorney Matthew Graves wrote in the memorandum that Bannon’s refusal to cooperate in the investigation of the worst attack on democracy in this country’s recent history made him complicit, and cannot stand:
“The rioters who overran the Capitol on January 6 did not just attack a building—they assaulted the rule of law upon which this country was built and through which it endures. By flouting the Select Committee’s subpoena and its authority, the Defendant exacerbated that assault. To this day, he continues to unlawfully withhold documents and testimony that stand to help the Committee’s authorized investigation to get to the bottom of what led to January 6 and ascertain what steps must be taken to ensure that it never happens again. That cannot be tolerated.”
For some, six months may not seem nearly enough to make up for what this country has had to endure since the 2020 election, but it does inspire hope that the Justice Department will give former President Trump – recently subpoenaed by the January 6th committee – this same energy.
Read the memo here.
Original reporting by Adam Klasfeld at Law & Crime.
Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick