Stephen Bannon, former adviser to President Trump, was indicted by a federal grand jury on Friday on two counts of contempt of Congress, the Justice Department announced in a press release.
The House voted 229-202 to hold Bannon in criminal contempt of Congress in October, after Bannon defied a subpoena by the House select committee on the January 6 Capitol riot. The charges were subsequently forwarded to the Justice Department.
“Since my first day in office, I have promised Justice Department employees that together we would show the American people by word and deed that the department adheres to the rule of law, follows the facts and the law and pursues equal justice under the law,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. “Today’s charges reflect the department’s steadfast commitment to these principle.”
The grand jury indictment charges Bannon with failing to provide documents and failing to appear for testimony before the January 6 committee. Each count carries a maximum prison sentence of one year and maximum $1,000 fine.
The committee subpoenaed Bannon for records of communications in the lead-up to the Capitol riot, during which a mob of Trump supporters breached the building and forced lawmakers to evacuate.
However, Bannon’s attorney told the committee that he could not turn over those records because they were covered by Trump’s assertion of executive privilege. Trump has claimed executive privilege in an attempt to prevent the release of White House records sought by the January 6 committee.
“Since these privileges belong to President Trump and not to Mr. Bannon, until these issues are resolved, Mr. Bannon is legally unable to comply with your subpoena requests for documents and testimony,” Bannon attorney Robert Costello wrote in a letter to the committee.