Longtime Trump ally Steve Bannon has been sentenced to four months in prison after a jury convicted him of contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with the House committee investigating January 6. Bannon originally faced two counts, and the jury convicted him on both.
Federal Judge Carl Nichols, however, agreed to suspend the sentence amid the appeals process, assuming Bannon files a “timely” appeal. “Nichols said that if Bannon files a timely appeal, he will issue an order suspending the prison sentence until the appeals process plays out,” NBC reported. During Bannon’s sentencing hearing, Nichols noted the seriousness of January 6 and Bannon’s overall lack of cooperation with the House panel investigating it. He eventually said he would testify, but he even then didn’t produce any documents, as demanded. In addition, his statements he’d testify garnered suspicion as a potential ploy to boost his case. Trump issued a letter saying he would lift privilege claims covering Bannon’s testimony, but it was unclear the former president ever even made any specific privilege contentions. Justin Clark, a lawyer for Trump, undercut Bannon’s privilege defense to the Justice Department, saying Trump “never invoked executive privilege over any particular information or materials,” as prosecutors summarized.
Nichols also noted a concern with deterring others from similarly defying Congressional investigations. “Others must be deterred from committing similar crimes,” he said in court. After his sentencing, Bannon again criticized the riot committee, discrediting their work and making bold proclamations about the supposedly imminent course of the midterm elections. Bannon also made predictably brash predictions about the work of Republican majorities in Congress. Attorney General Merrick Garland “will end up being the first attorney general that’s brought up on charges of impeachment and he will be removed from office,” according to Bannon’s telling, a scenario which assumes Republican control. Although Bannon is obviously melodramatic, his comments could nonetheless portend the direction a GOP House takes.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the House GOP leader, seems more at ease with extremist elements of the party than McConnell, and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) already confidently proclaimed she must have additional power. “I think that to be the best speaker of the House and to please the base, he’s going to give me a lot of power and a lot of leeway,” Greene said in an interview. “And if he doesn’t, they’re going to be very unhappy about it.” Greene has already introduced articles of impeachment targeting Biden himself over and over.