Steve Bannon Trial Begins: Live Updates
Steve Bannon is on trial on two criminal charges for his failure to comply with the House’s January 6, 2021 investigation 10 months after he received subpoenas from the select committee.
The polarizing longtime Trump ally has consistently topped the Jan. 6 witness list for House investigators. But Justice Department prosecutors say the lawsuit aims to punish Bannon for breaching subpoenas, rather than compel him to share information.
Here are the key things to know about the case at the start of the arguments:
Why the case matters: The case is a major test of the leverage Congress has when a witness evades a House subpoena. Bannon is the first of two similar House Select Committee subpoena cases to go to trial; a contempt case against former White House trade adviser Peter Navarro is still in its early stages.
Bannon’s trial is also of particular importance to the House panel as it continues to negotiate to bring in additional witnesses and prepares for a major prime-time hearing on Thursday night intended to shed light on what committee members called former President Donald Trump’s « dereliction of duty » in January. 6.
How the trial might unfold: The prosecutors promise that their case against Bannon will be presented succinctly, in just a few days, with only two or three prosecution witnesses. This list includes investigators from House committees.
It’s unclear what the extent of Bannon’s defense will be, or if he’ll want to speak up in his own defense. He will not be able to force members of the House to testify, the judge said.
At the start of the case, Bannon vowed to make the proceedings « the crime of hell for (Attorney General) Merrick Garland, (House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi and (Speaker) Joe Biden. » But at a recent court hearing, his defense attorney, David Schoen, complained, “What’s the point of going to trial here if there’s no defense?
Bannon’s attempts to stop the lawsuit: Bannon – who accepted an 11-hour pardon from Trump in 2021 as he faced conspiracy wire fraud and money laundering charges in Manhattan federal court related to a fundraising scheme for the border wall – has made a series of attempts in court in recent days to stop the lawsuit, to further shape a defense or to prepare for possible appeals.
So far, U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols has overwhelmingly sided with the Justice Department on what evidence the jury can hear, preventing Bannon from trying to defer to the advice his lawyer gave him. donated or use internal DOJ policies on presidential advisers he hoped could protect him.
In recent weeks, Trump has indicated he wants to waive any executive privileges that may have applied to Bannon, and Bannon has suggested he may be interested in speaking with the House committee — a series of events Bannon’s team now wants to try to show the jury. . But his ability to raise arguments about executive privilege will be, at best, severely limited. Bannon was not a government official during the period studied by the committee.
Expenses : A federal grand jury indicted the right-wing figure in November on two counts of criminal contempt — one for his failure to provide the testimony demanded by the House Select Committee subpoena in the fall and the another for his inability to produce documents. A key question at trial will be whether the jury agrees with prosecutors and the House that Bannon’s October subpoena deadlines were final and that he deliberately ignored them.
The two counts he faces are misdemeanors. But if convicted, each carries a mandatory minimum of 30 days in jail.
Keep reading about the case here.