As Bannon Surrenders to FBI, GOP Warns of Payback

Former Trump aide faces jail time if convicted of contempt of Congress
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 15, 2021 11:15 AM CST
Bannon Surrenders to FBI —and Livestreams It
Former White House strategist Steve Bannon arrives at the FBI's Washington field office on Monday.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Steve Bannon didn't just surrender to the FBI on Monday—he livestreamed the moment for supporters and remained defiant about the controversy. The ally of former President Trump has been indicted on charges of contempt of Congress for refusing to testify or hand over documents to a House panel investigating the Capitol riot. Coverage:

  • Message: "We're taking down the Biden regime," Bannon said on a livestream via the Gettr social media service, per USA Today. "I want you guys to stay focused, stay on message," he said in the livestream for his War Room podcast. "Remember, signal, not noise."
  • Charges: The 67-year-old faces two misdemeanor counts of contempt, each of which carries up to a year in jail and fines if he's convicted. Bannon was expected to make a brief court appearance Monday afternoon to enter his plea before being released, reports the New York Times.

  • Context: As Politico notes, "contempt of Congress cases have rarely succeeded in history." On the other hand, "few targets have ever defied a congressional subpoena as brazenly as Bannon." Lawmakers on the Jan. 6 panel hope that the case against Bannon will send a signal to other potential witnesses. (Former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows also defied a subpoena and could face contempt charges next.)
  • Payback? As the Bannon case unfolds, Republicans already are warning about payback, reports the Washington Post. They accuse the Biden White House of disregarding the notion of immunity for presidential advisers and say that Biden officials could be hauled before Congress if Republicans take control in the midterms. "There are a lot of Republicans eager to hear testimony from Ron Klain (chief of staff) and Jake Sullivan (national security adviser) when we take back the House," tweeted GOP Rep. Jim Jordan. Rep. Elise Stefanik says Biden is "weaponizing" the Justice Department for political purposes.
(Read more Steve Bannon stories.)

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