Does Steve Bannon’s indictment for contempt of Congress spell bad news for Donald Trump?

In charging Steve Bannon with contempt of Congress, how bad is this for Trump?

Amana Khan
22nd November 2021
Steve Bannon (image credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Steve Bannon, the former advisor to Donald Trump, was charged with two counts of contempt of Congress, with count one regarding his rejection to appear at a congressional deposition, and the second regarding his refusal to comply with a subpoena. These charges are directly linked to the riots that occurred at the US Capitol on the 6th of January 2021. However, Bannon has pleaded not guilty on the charges of the indictment, insisting that “he and his allies were taking down the Biden regime.”

Bannon’s attorney has told the House select committee that Bannon did not abide by the subpoena in an attempt to honour Donald Trump’s wishes in invoking executive privilege, claiming that conversations with Trump about the riots were confidential. However, the House Committee, as well as legal experts, have challenged this claim. They argue that executive privilege should not be given to Bannon, as he was not working for the Trump administration when the riots took place. 

Bannon helped invigorate the “Stop The Steal” campaign that pro-Trump supporters advocated for, which promoted the Capitol riots. It is important to note that the indictment may not solely be problematic for Bannon. It is likely that it will be contentious for Trump's whole administration and even potentially the former president himself - who famously told his supporters to “fight like hell” to overturn his defeat against Joe Biden. 

They argue that executive privilege should not have been given to Bannon, as he was not working for the Trump administration when the riots took place

Furthermore, Trump’s wishes to use executive privilege undermines the rule of law, as it uses executive powers as a way to cover-up unlawful actions. This was evident in a claim made by Adam Schiff, chair of the House intelligence committee, who argued that “the Republican party, at the top level, that is Donald Trump, and those around him, seem to feel that they are above the law and free to thwart it.” This is clearly a reflection on the former president’s values. As well as providing insight into his involvement in the riots that took place, it shows that arguably his presidency as a whole can be seen as one of corruption and lies. 

As mentioned previously, Bannon's indictment is a serious issue for Trump. It has given way to claims that the former president also needs to be held accountable for his actions surrounding the January 6th riots. Trump being at the top of the food chain in his administration, his involvement in the riots and their aftermath was crucial. It is justifiable that he should therefore be held accountable. With Bannon’s indictment in full force, it does seem to spell bad news for Trump, due to his close personal relations with Bannon and his connection to the Capitol riots. 

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