- The Washington Times - Monday, November 15, 2021

Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon appeared for a brief hearing before a federal judge Monday after being indicted on two counts of criminal contempt of Congress for failing to comply with a subpoena from the House’s Jan. 6 committee.

Mr. Bannon did not enter a plea during the hearing and is expected back in court Thursday. Magistrate Judge Robin Meriweather ordered him to surrender his passport and check in weekly with court officials.

The Trump ally was indicted Friday following a vote last month by the Democrat-run House recommending criminal contempt charges after Mr. Bannon failed to comply with a subpoena from the special committee investigating the riots at the U.S. Capitol.

The panel had demanded that he produce documents and appear for a scheduled deposition.

Mr. Bannon could face up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $100,000 for each count if found guilty.

Lawmakers on the committee say Mr. Bannon was communicating with then-President Donald Trump in the lead-up to the Jan. 6 rally and made statements they say indicate his foreknowledge of the riot.

Mr. Bannon told the committee that he would not participate in the investigation, citing the former president’s assertion of executive privilege.

Mr. Trump has sued federal officials over the release of documents related to the Jan. 6 probe.

His legal team said in the lawsuit that the House committee has “no legitimate legislative purpose” for its request. They also claim that, as a former president, Mr. Trump enjoys “inherent constitutional rights of privilege.”

Mr. Bannon is charged with one count of contempt for failing to appear before the panel for questioning and another for refusing to produce documents.

The former Trump adviser’s indictment comes as other witnesses defy the committee’s demands and cite the former president’s claims of executive privilege.

Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows failed to appear for a scheduled deposition before the committee Friday.

Earlier this month, former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark refused to answer questions while appearing before the committee.

Both cited Mr. Trump’s pending lawsuit as justification for not cooperating.

The committee’s leaders — Reps. Bennie G. Thompson, Mississippi Democrat, and Liz Cheney, Wyoming Republican — said Friday in a statement that Mr. Bannon’s indictment “should send a clear message to anyone who thinks they can ignore the Select Committee or stonewall our investigation.”

“We will not hesitate to use the tools at our disposal to get the information we need,” the lawmakers said.

This article is based in part on wire-service reports.

• Joseph Clark can be reached at jclark@washingtontimes.com.

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