A former advisor to President Donald Trump, Stephen Bannon has promised to fight aggressively against his indictment for Congress’s contempt and bring the fight right back to Joe Biden and his Attorney General Merrick Garland.
After leaving the courthouse in his first public appearance following the indictment, Bannon told the media that he would make the case “the misdemeanor from hell” for Biden, Garland, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He added that he is “going on the offense,” and his Democrat opponents “took on the wrong guy this time.”
The grand jury indictment against Bannon was issued on Saturday, and he agreed to turn himself into an FBI office on Monday. He is charged with criminal contempt of Congress due to his refusal to comply with a subpoena issued by Pelosi’s select committee on the January 6 riot.
Bannon is scheduled for an arraignment hearing on Thursday, where he is expected to plead not guilty. Each charge in the indictment carries a maximum sentence of one year in federal prison.
Bannon based his refusal to cooperate with Pelosi’s subpoena on a claim of legal executive privilege that he says attaches to his communications with Trump when he was president. Bannon’s claim is predicated on Trump’s previous claim of executive privilege. Pelosi’s committee had taken the position that Trump’s claim of ownership became invalid when he left office.
Bannon’s lawyer David Schoen stated Monday that his client has no choice but to withhold his cooperation when the privilege holder has invoked the right. Schoen represented Trump at his impeachment hearing.
He added that Bannon has been clear that he will obey any final order if a court orders him to comply with the subpoena. Schoen said that Bannon has an “obligation to honor the privilege.”
Schoen added that formal opinions of the federal Office of Legal Counsel make it clear that the executive privilege “applies to discussions with former government officials.” He said that the right exists so that officials can have open discussions with the president that will not be subject to discovery in later hearings.