Now that former Trump administration official Steve Bannon has been indicted for criminal contempt of Congress and is facing time in prison, speculation has begun regarding what a trial for Bannon would look like and who might be called for testimony if Bannon and his legal team decide to fight the charges every step of the way.
According to Jonathan Swan of Axios, a trial could wind up leading to members of Congress being called to testify, which could turn out to be a disaster for Republicans, especially if such a trial comes in the midst of the 2022 midterm election campaign.
Swan notes that the Bannon’s indictment also sends a clear message to others who might be planning to ignore a subpoena from the House Select Committee on the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection:
The Justice Department’s contempt of Congress charges against Steve Bannon sends a message not only to other witnesses called by the Jan. 6 inquest, but to countless other people who face Congressional subpoenas.
Driving the news: Think pharmaceutical execs, NFL bosses, baby food manufacturers, social media moguls — you name it.
- That message is: It’s a new day for Congress’ investigative muscle.
During the Trump administration, criminal referrals from congressional committees were ignored or rejected by the DOJ, but the charges against Bannon signal that times have indeed changed with Attorney General Merrick Garland in charge of the Justice Department:
- This case signals that congressional subpoenas matter, and that people under subpoena take big risks when they defy them.
Bannon will turn himself into federal authorities on Monday (if he fails to, he will be taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals Service), and then will have to decide if he wants to try and reach a plea agreement in exchange for his cooperation with the Jan. 6 committee or go to trial, which could be risky for both Bannon and Republicans in Congress:
- The Justice Department could call members of Congress or Hill staff as witnesses. And Lord knows who Bannon would call.
Conceivably, people such as Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), and Lauren Boebert (R-CO) could find themselves testifying under oath in a Bannon trial, and if they tell even the slightest of lies, they could then be charged with perjury.
Bannon may be the only person facing prison time at the moment, but that will likely change in the months ahead.
Featured Image Via NBC News