Steve Bannon turns himself in on contempt of Congress charges.
The former aide to President Donald J. Trump had refused to comply with a demand for information from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.,
Steve Bannon turns himself in on contempt of Congress charges.
The former aide to President Donald J. Trump had refused to comply with a demand for information from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
Bannon Surrenders to Authorities
Stephen K. Bannon, a former aide to Donald Trump, turned himself in at the F.B.I.’s Washington field office, three days after he was indicted on contempt of Congress charges after refusing to provide information to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack.
“Back up, please, back up. Everybody back up, everybody get back.” “Mr. Bannon, any comment for the cameras over here? Any comment?” “Any thoughts, Mr. Bannon?” “Mr. Bannon, any comment on this?” “Excuse me.” “How are you feeling today, Mr. Bannon?” “Mr. Bannon, what are your plans now ahead of this?” Thank you, thank you everybody move back.” “Thanks guys, appreciate it.”
Stephen K. Bannon, a former aide to Donald Trump, turned himself in at the F.B.I.’s Washington field office, three days after he was indicted on contempt of Congress charges after refusing to provide information to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack.CreditCredit…Al Drago for The New York Times
Stephen K. Bannon, who served as a senior aide to former President Donald J. Trump, turned himself in to the authorities on Monday morning, three days after he was indicted by a federal grand jury on two counts of contempt of Congress for refusing to provide information to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
Mr. Bannon arrived at the F.B.I.’s Washington field office at around 9:30 a.m., where he surrendered to the authorities.
“On Monday, November 15, Stephen K. Bannon self-surrendered to the F.B.I. Washington Field Office and was arrested and processed on two counts of contempt of Congress,” the F.B.I. said in a statement.
He is expected to make his initial appearance in federal magistrate court on Monday afternoon before Judge Robin M. Meriweather.
While the court proceeding is expected to be swift, with Mr. Bannon entering his plea, it kicks off what could be a lengthy battle between a member of Mr. Trump’s inner circle and the federal government, as it seeks to enforce a congressional subpoena.
Mr. Bannon, 67, had declined last month to comply with subpoenas from the House select committee seeking testimony and documents from him. The House then voted to hold him in criminal contempt of Congress, and referred the matter to the Justice Department.
Mr. Trump has directed his former aides and advisers to invoke immunity and refrain from turning over documents that might be protected under executive privilege.
After the referral from the House in Mr. Bannon’s case, F.B.I. agents in the Washington field office investigated the matter. Career prosecutors in the public integrity unit of the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington determined that it would be appropriate to charge Mr. Bannon with two counts of contempt, and the Justice Department announced on Friday that a grand jury had indicted Mr. Bannon on those charges.
One contempt count is related to Mr. Bannon’s refusal to appear for a deposition, and the other is for his refusal to produce documents for the committee.
The committee issued subpoenas in September to Mr. Bannon and several others who had ties to the Trump White House, and it has since issued scores of subpoenas to other allies of the former president.
In a report recommending that the House find Mr. Bannon in contempt, the committee repeatedly cited comments Mr. Bannon made on his radio show on Jan. 5 — when he said “all hell is going to break loose tomorrow” — as evidence that “he had some foreknowledge about extreme events that would occur the next day.”
Understand the Claim of Executive Privilege in the Jan. 6. Inquiry
A key issue yet untested. Donald Trump’s power as former president to keep information from his White House secret has become a central issue in the House’s investigation of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Amid an attempt by Mr. Trump to keep personal records secret and the indictment of Stephen K. Bannon for contempt of Congress, here’s a breakdown of executive privilege:
What is executive privilege? It is a power claimed by presidents under the Constitution to prevent the other two branches of government from gaining access to certain internal executive branch information, especially confidential communications involving the president or among his top aides.
What is Trump’s claim? Former President Trump has filed a lawsuit seeking to block the disclosure of White House files related to his actions and communications surrounding the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. He argues that these matters must remain a secret as a matter of executive privilege.
Is Trump’s privilege claim valid? The constitutional line between a president’s secrecy powers and Congress’s investigative authority is hazy. Though a judge rejected Mr. Trump’s bid to keep his papers secret, it is likely that the case will ultimately be resolved by the Supreme Court.
Is executive privilege an absolute power? No. Even a legitimate claim of executive privilege may not always prevail in court. During the Watergate scandal in 1974, the Supreme Court upheld an order requiring President Richard M. Nixon to turn over his Oval Office tapes.
May ex-presidents invoke executive privilege? Yes, but courts may view their claims with less deference than those of current presidents. In 1977, the Supreme Court said Nixon could make a claim of executive privilege even though he was out of office, though the court ultimately ruled against him in the case.
Is Steve Bannon covered by executive privilege? This is unclear. Mr. Bannon’s case could raise the novel legal question of whether or how far a claim of executive privilege may extend to communications between a president and an informal adviser outside of the government.
What is contempt of Congress? It is a sanction imposed on people who defy congressional subpoenas. Congress can refer contempt citations to the Justice Department and ask for criminal charges. Mr. Bannon has been indicted on contempt charges for refusing to comply with a subpoena that seeks documents and testimony.
Investigators have also pointed to a conversation Mr. Bannon had with Mr. Trump on Dec. 30 in which he urged him to focus his efforts on Jan. 6. Mr. Bannon also was present at a meeting at the Willard Hotel in Washington on Jan. 5, when plans were discussed to try to overturn the results of the election the next day, the committee has said.
While many of those who received subpoenas have sought to work to some degree with the committee, Mr. Bannon claimed that his conversations with Mr. Trump were covered by executive privilege despite not having worked in the White House for years at the time of the Jan. 6 riot.
The indictment of Mr. Bannon also raised questions about similar potential criminal exposure for Mark Meadows, Mr. Trump’s former chief of staff.
Before the Justice Department announced the indictment of Mr. Bannon, Mr. Meadows, a former House member from North Carolina, failed to meet a deadline on Friday for complying with the House committee’s request for information.
The leaders of the House committee, Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi, and Representative Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming, have said they will now consider pursuing contempt charges against Mr. Meadows.