(The Hill) — One-time Trump White House strategist Steve Bannon surrendered himself to law enforcement Monday, appearing for a hearing after he was indicted by a federal grand jury for defying a congressional subpoena.
Bannon is facing two charges of criminal contempt of Congress, one for failing to appear for an Oct. 14 deposition before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and another for refusal to provide documents to the panel.
The charges were filed by the Department of Justice on Friday, leaving Bannon facing a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of one year in jail, as well as a fine of $100 to $1,000 if convicted.
Flanked by a man holding a “coup plotter” sign as he entered into federal custody on Monday, Bannon briefly spoke to supporters on a Livestream on the right-wing Gettr platform.
“I want you guys to stay focused, stay on message. Remember signal, not noise,” he said.
“I don’t want anybody to take your eye off the ball of what we do every day.”
The move by the Department of Justice comes as the committee is facing a mounting number of uncooperative former White House employees, including former President Donald Trump‘s chief of staff Mark Meadows, who on Friday failed to appear for a deposition.
But Bannon’s surrender comes as some observers say he may try to cast himself as a martyr for Trump.
“Mr. Bannon will comply with our investigation or he will face the consequences. Maybe he’s willing to be a martyr to the disgraceful cause of whitewashing what happened on January 6th — of demonstrating his complete loyalty to the former President,” Committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said of Bannon when the Jan. 6 panel first voted to refer him for criminal contempt charges in October.
“So I want other witnesses to understand something very plainly: if you’re thinking of following the path Mr. Bannon has gone down, you’re on notice that this is what you’ll face.”
Bannon, however, has recently expanded his legal team to fight the charges.
According to Politico, Bannon has tapped both Trump impeachment attorney David Schoen and Evan Corcoran to represent him. Corcoran, a former U.S. attorney, is also representing Michael Riley, a U.S. Capitol Police officer charged with obstruction of justice after advising a Capitol rioter to delete video evidence of the raid from his social media accounts.
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