He appeared Monday, November 15, in a Washington court in connection with his indictment of “obstructing the investigative powers of Congress” on the attack on the Capitol on January 6. At the end of his hearing, Steve Bannon, a close ally of former US President Donald Trump, promised to move on to the« offensive » against American power.
“We go on the offensive, we are tired of playing defense”, he told reporters, accusing Democratic President Joe Biden of directly ordering the prosecution. “This country was built on freedom of expression”, he added, promising “Hell” to Democratic officials. “Get ready”, he repeated, repeating a controversial phrase from Mr. Trump during the campaign, when the latter called on the far-right group Proud Boys to stand “Keep ready”.
The 67-year-old former adviser is being prosecuted for refusing to testify and submit documents to the House of Representatives special committee investigating the role of the former Republican president in his supporters’ assault on the temple of American democracy. He was presented to Federal Judge Robin Meriweather who served him on charges against him, before being released. Mr. Bannon is due to appear again on Thursday at 9 a.m. local time (or 3 p.m. in France) before another judge. He faces between 30 days and one year in prison for each count.
“All this is noise”
Indicted Friday, he presented himself Monday morning in front of the premises of the FBI to be formally arrested. “We are fighting the Biden regime every day”, he told reporters on his arrival, asserting that “All this is noise”. Despite his summons to elected officials in mid-October, Steve Bannon did not appear by invoking the right of presidents to keep certain documents and discussions confidential.
A discreet but very influential advisor, he had played a crucial role in the election of Mr. Trump by giving a decidedly populist turn to the Republican billionaire’s campaign in 2016, before being pushed out the following year. He was in no official position on January 6, but the commission of inquiry suspects him of having discussed the protest with the president in the days preceding. He was notably part of the ” crisis unit “ run by advisers to Mr. Trump from a luxury Washington hotel. His testimony should allow elected officials to understand what Donald Trump was doing before and during the assault.
The indictment of Mr. Bannon is according to the commission “A clear message” on the risks incurred by all those who refuse to cooperate with it. Time is of the essence for this commission, controlled by the Democrats and which could be dismantled if the Republicans win the midterm elections in November 2022.
Other summons against Trump’s relatives
The latter, which has already heard more than 150 witnesses, last week launched new summonses against relatives of the Republican billionaire, including his former spokesperson at the White House Kayleigh McEnany or his advisor Stephen Miller. Another close to Mr. Trump, his former chief of staff Mark Meadows, also snubbed a subpoena on Friday, after a judge suspended the transmission of internal White House documents to the commission until November 30.
The documents in question include the files of former close advisers to Donald Trump, as well as the Daily White House newspaper – an account of his activities, trips, briefings and phone calls. But for the commission of inquiry, President Biden authorized the publication of the documents and Mr. Meadows is required to testify at the risk of being charged with obstructing the investigative prerogatives of Congress as well.
On January 6, thousands of Donald Trump supporters gathered in Washington as Congress certified Joe Biden’s victory. The former real estate mogul had addressed the crowd, hammering, baselessly, that the election had been for him “Stolen”. Several hundred demonstrators then launched an assault on Congress, sowing chaos and violence even in the hemicycle.
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Steve Bannon, close adviser to Trump, wants to go “on the offensive” after his indictment in the investigation into the assault on the Capitol