Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon was found guilty of contempt of Congress on Friday after flouting a subpoena from the January 6 committee.
The jury reached a unanimous verdict, finding him guilty of two counts of contempt, in less than three hours. After hearing the Justice Department’s closing argument, Bannon said “the prosecutor missed one very important phrase – I stand with Trump and the Constitution and I will never back off that, ever.”
He also threatened the January 6 committee while talking to Fox News host Tucker Carlson late on Friday: “I will tell the Jan. 6 staff right now, preserve your documents, because there’s going to be a real committee and this has to be backed by Republican grass-roots voters.”
Although Bannon hadn’t served in the White House since 2017, he remained close to former President Donald Trump in the days leading up to the Capitol riot as part of Trump’s “war room,” planning to overturn the election from the comfort of the Willard Hotel.
Despite Bannon’s staunch opposition to testifying before the House committee since it subpoenaed him in November, two weeks ago, Bannon changed his tune, saying that he was “willing” to testify. The new position was sparked by a letter from Trump in which he told Bannon he would waive his executive privilege, allowing for him to testify. Still, he was found guilty.
The New York Times reported that Bannon was the first close aide of the former president to be convicted, but probably not the last. Although the House committee recommended that former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and former communications adviser Dan Scavino be charged with contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate with its investigation, the DOJ did not press charges. Former trade adviser Peter Navarro, however, was charged; he will be tried in mid-November.