Greitens campaign: Bannon ‘smells blood in the water’ despite federal indictment

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Steve Bannon, chairman of Breitbart News Network LLC, speaks during a campaign rally for Roy Moore, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate from Alabama, not pictured, in Midland City, Alabama, U.S., on Monday, Dec. 11, 2017. Republican Senator Richard Shelby, Alabama’s senior member of Congress, strongly condemned Moore on Sunday as the contentious campaign for the […]

Steve Bannon, a longtime ally of former President Donald Trump, was indicted Friday on two counts of criminal contempt of Congress after he defied a subpoena from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Despite the news, Bannon is still finding support from one of the candidates running to be the next Senator from Missouri.

The Justice Department said Bannon, 67, was indicted on one count for refusing to appear for a deposition last month and the other for refusing to provide documents in response to the committee’s subpoena. He is expected to surrender to authorities on Monday and will appear in court that afternoon, a law enforcement official told the AP. The person was granted anonymity to discuss the case.

The indictment came as a second witness, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, defied his own subpoena from the committee on Friday and as Trump has escalated his legal battles to withhold documents and testimony about the insurrection. The chairman of the Jan. 6 panel, Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, said he will recommend contempt charges against Meadows next week.

“Mr. Meadows, Mr. Bannon, and others who go down this path won’t prevail in stopping the Select Committee’s effort getting answers for the American people about January 6th, making legislative recommendations to help protect our democracy, and helping ensure nothing like that day ever happens again,” Democrat Thompson and the vice chairwoman of the panel, Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, said in a statement.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said Bannon’s indictment reflects the Justice Department’s “steadfast commitment” to ensuring that the department adheres to the rule of law. Each count carries a minimum of 30 days of jail and as long as a year behind bars.

The indictment alleges that Bannon didn’t appear before the committee as subpoenaed or produce required documents. It says he also didn’t communicate with the committee in any way from the time he received the subpoena on Sept. 24 until Oct. 7 when his lawyer sent a letter, seven hours after the documents were due.

Bannon, who worked at the White House at the beginning of the Trump administration and currently serves as host of the conspiracy-minded “War Room” podcast, is a private citizen who “refused to appear to give testimony as required by a subpoena,” the indictment says.

Bannon’s podcast has served as something of a megaphone to back the U.S. Senate candidacy of former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens, who he praised back in October for saying he would not support Mitch McConnell for Majority Leader if Republicans win back control of the chamber next fall.

Greitens took to Twitter Friday afternoon to show his support for Bannon.

Of Bannon’s role in the January 6 committee’s investigation, the campaign told FOX2 in a statement this week, “The committee is showing their desperation by issuing blanket subpoenas, because they know they don’t have any factual evidence or proof. This is a fishing expedition and Steve Bannon is apparent their big fish. But in reality, Steve Bannon is a shark and he smells blood in the water.”

Bannon’s attorney did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment Friday. When Bannon declined to appear for his deposition in October, his attorney said the former Trump adviser had been directed by a lawyer for Trump citing executive privilege not to answer questions.

By MARY CLARE JALONICK, MICHAEL BALSAMO and EMILY WAGSTER PETTUS, Associated Press

AP writers Eric Tucker, Nomaan Merchant, Zeke Miller, Farnoush Amiri and Jill Colvin contributed.

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