Jacket with hunter pockets and smirk on his lips, Steve Bannon attended to his arrival on Monday, November 15, when he surrendered to the agents of the Federal Police (FBI). The former adviser to Donald Trump, indicted for obstructing the work of the parliamentary commission of inquiry into the attack on the Capitol on January 6, stopped in front of reporters to send a message to his supporters.
Taking advantage of maximum media exposure, he wanted to call them to watch his podcast, “War Room,” a conspiratorial skylight surpassing the conservative Fox News channel in its outrageousness. “We bring down the Biden regime”, he said. “I want you to stay focused on the message, not the noise. All that is noise ”, Steve Bannon added, pointing his thumb at the FBI building behind his back.
His appearance before a federal judge – before his release in the afternoon – is the consequence of his refusal to testify before the commission of inquiry of the House of Representatives, and to transmit the requested documents.
This obstruction strategy was adopted at the request of Donald Trump and recommended to all his former advisers, of whom twenty have already been summoned to appear. Former chief of staff Mark Meadows thus scorned his own convocation on November 12. He risks similar legal treatment, the rare severity of which serves as a warning to other witnesses the committee wishes to hear.
Race against time
For each offense against Steve Bannon is provided a maximum sentence of one year in prison, and a minimum of thirty days behind bars. In early October, his lawyer brandished the argument of executive privilege, invoked by Donald Trump, to justify his refusal to cooperate. This privilege, a simple principle not defined by law, protects the confidentiality of exchanges between the president and his relatives. Problem: at the time of the facts, in January, Steve Bannon was no longer advisor to the president – post left in 2017 -, but podcast host. “War Room” is an immensely popular conspiratorial program, obsessed with trumped-up fraud during the last presidential election.
In the summons sent on September 23 to Steve Bannon, the commission explained that he was suspected of having important information on January 6. “For example, you were identified as being present at the Willard Hotel on January 5, during an effort to persuade members of Congress to block the certification of the election the following day, as well as in connection with d ‘other activities on January 6th… In addition, you are quoted as having said, on January 5th, that “hell is going to break loose tomorrow” », wrote the commission.
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In the United States, Steve Bannon defies the commission of inquiry into the assault on the Capitol