The U.S. Justice Department revealed Friday that Steve Bannon was indicted by a federal grand jury on two counts of contempt of Congress after failing to comply with a subpoena issued by the House panel investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol.
"Steve Bannon's indictment should send a clear message to anyone who thinks they can ignore the select committee or try to stonewall our investigation: No one is above the law."
Noah Bookbinder, president of the advocacy group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), welcomed the development in a tweet Friday.
"Hugely significant, and entirely appropriate, that Steve Bannon was indicted for contempt of Congress for ignoring the January 6 select committee's subpoena," he said. "It is good to see the Department of Justice stepping up and treating this with the gravity it deserves."
The indictment came after just nine Republicans joined with nearly every Democrat in the lower chamber last month for a vote to hold Bannon in criminal contempt for defying a subpoena issued on September 23. The 67-year-old served as a top adviser to former President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign and White House.
The House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol has issued dozens of subpoenas targeting top Trump allies in recent months. The panel's chair and vice chair, Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), also welcomed the indictment.
"Steve Bannon's indictment should send a clear message to anyone who thinks they can ignore the select committee or try to stonewall our investigation: No one is above the law," the pair said. "We will not hesitate to use the tools at our disposal to get the information we need."
The Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia is prosecuting the case. U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves explained Friday that "according to the indictment, Mr. Bannon refused to appear to give testimony as required by subpoena and refused to produce documents in compliance with a subpoena."
The development comes as U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland is under pressure for his inaction to hold Trump and his allies accountable for the January 6 attackwhich led to the former president's historic second impeachmentand other alleged crimes, with some critics even calling for a new leader at the Justice Department.
"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," Garland said Friday. "Today's charges reflect the department's steadfast commitment to these principles."
Each contempt of Congress count that Bannon faces "carries a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of one year in jail, as well as a fine of $100 to $1,000," the Justice Department's statement noted. "A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors."
According to The New York Times, "An arraignment date has not been set."