Steve Bannon’s Contempt of Congress Trial Formally Began Today

The contempt-of-Congress trial of Steve Bannon (a former White House political strategist who served as President Donald Trump’s chief strategist) officially began Monday with the selection and confirmation of jurors that will ultimately determine his legal fate.

Bannon faces two contempt of Congress chargesThis was based on Bannon’s refusal to follow subpoenas from a House select committee investigating the January 6 attack against the U.S. Capitol. Bannon is the first individual from Trump’s inner circle of former aides and confidantes to be tried due to the committee’s work, although the charges he faces are unrelated to anything the panel has unearthed so far.

Last year, the committee subpoenaed Bannon. They noted that he had spoken to Trump in December 2020 regarding his efforts to win the election Trump lost to Joe Biden. During a conversation in the final week of that year, Bannon spoke with Trump directly, urging him to “focus his efforts on January 6th,” the committee said.

According to the committee

In an effort to persuade members of Congress to block the certification the election, Mr. Bannon was also reported to have attended a gathering at Willard Hotel on the 5th of January 2021.

On his radio show that same day, Bannon told listeners that “all hell is going to break loose” on January 6.

Bannon’s trial will not focus on those matters, but rather on his refusal to speak before the committee and share documents deemed vital to their investigation into schemes devised by Trump and his allies to improperly keep the former president in office.

According to NBC News legal analyst Glenn Kirschner, who is covering the first day of Bannon’s trial, jury selection has been slow-going. Potential members of the jury “run the spectrum” between those who have a lot of opinions about Bannon to those who don’t know anything about him or the January 6 committee’s work.

Judge Carl Nichols was himself appointed by Trump to his position. He stated that jurors with biases against Bannon have been rejected. However, Nichols is open to considering those who have negative opinions about Bannon as long as they are willing to be objective about the trial’s facts.

This month, Bannon tried last-ditch to avoid a trialHe claimed he was willing to testify. This move caused many legal experts and others to wonder if he really intended to be a genuine witness for the January 6, committee or if he simply wanted to delay the trial.

Ultimately, the Department of Justice (DOJ) asked Nichols to reject the plan, which he did, keeping in place the trial date and moving the case forward.

Bannon could face up to a whole year in prison if he’s convicted on each of the charges against him.