Trump Adviser Steve Bannon Surrenders to FBI, Later Released on Own Recognizance
Former President Donald Trump adviser Steven Bannon surrendered to federal agents on charges of contempt of Congress on Nov. 15.
The arraignment for Bannon on contempt to Congress charges was postponed until Nov. 18. He was released on his own recognizance ahead of the next hearing.
For the time being, Bannon will have to live at his stated address, surrender his U.S. passport, not travel outside the District of Columbia without notifying the court, and submit to other court-ordered requirements.
Bannon was mobbed by members of the media as he surrendered to federal officials at an FBI field office in Washington, D.C.
“We’re taking down the Biden regime,” he told reporters on the scene. “I want you guys to stay focused, stay on message. Remember signal, not noise.
“I don’t want anybody to take your eye off the ball of what we do every day.”
Bannon’s surrender comes three days after he was indicted on two charges of contempt of Congress after he refused to appear in front of a congressional deposition and wouldn’t provide documents in response to the panel’s subpoena. Both counts—which are misdemeanors—carry a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of 1 year in jail, as well as fines between $100 and $1,000, according to a Justice Department statement last week.
In October, when the Jan. 6 Capitol breach panel issued a subpoena to Bannon, his attorney said he wouldn’t be cooperating with the probe because he hadn’t been directed to by Trump. The attorney, Robert Costello, wrote that “the executive privileges belong to President Trump,” while Bannon’s invocation of the legal doctrine should be honored.
According to the indictment, however, Bannon is a private citizen who “refused to appear to give testimony as required by a subpoena.”
Officials in Democratic and Republican presidential administrations have been held in contempt of Congress in the past, although criminal indictments are considered rare. The last time it occurred was in 1983, when former Environmental Protection Agency official Rita M. Lavelle was acquitted of contempt of Congress when she didn’t testify about a hazardous waste site.
Bannon’s attorneys, David I. Schoen and Matthew Evan Corcoran, didn’t return requests for comment by press time.
“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,” said Attorney General Merrick Garland after the Department of Justice indicted Bannon, who served as Trump’s 2016 campaign manager and later, as his presidential adviser during the nascent phase of the Trump administration.
Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows may also be in the Jan. 6 committee’s crosshairs after he defied a subpoena to testify about Jan. 6. Meadows’ lawyer also cited executive privilege last week for his refusal to speak with the committee. Most Republican lawmakers have decried the committee as partisan and biased.
In an opinion article released by The Washington Post over the past weekend, Meadows attorney George J. Terwilliger III wrote that he was “surprised and disappointed” that the DOJ rejected the claims of executive privilege.
“Under Supreme Court precedent, President Donald Trump also has a voice to be heard on claims of executive privilege arising from his tenure, and he has instructed Meadows to maintain the privilege. My client thus finds himself caught between two rocks (Congress and the Biden administration) and a hard place (instructions from the president he served),” Terwilliger wrote.
Zachary Stieber contributed to this report