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Steve Bannon ordered to surrender to prison by July 1

Jesus Carames

June 6, 2024 | 8:25 pm

Steve Bannon, a prominent far-right figure and former White House adviser, has been ordered to surrender to prison by July 1. Trump-appointed Judge Carl Nichols has revoked his bail. Bannon's sentence for defying the committee's Jan. 6 subpoena had been stayed while he appealed. Today, Judge Nichols ruled that the original reasons for suspending the sentence no longer apply.

Bannon ruling and its impact on the electoral cycle

Bannon's four-month sentence would be extended until early November. If Bannon goes to prison on July 1, he would remain behind bars just before the November election. In addition to keeping Bannon — who hosts a popular far-right podcast — off the air at a crucial time in the election cycle, Nichols' decision would also make Bannon's sentence pardon-proof, since Trump pardoned him in the last day of his presidency on federal fraud charges.

Bannon was convicted in July 2022 on two misdemeanor counts of contempt of Congress for obstructing a subpoena from the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

“I do not believe that the original basis for my suspension of Mr. Bannon's sentence exists any longer,” Nichols said from the bench of the federal court in Washington, D.C.

Bannon's defense and his next legal actions

Bannon was accompanied by his lawyers David Schoen, who once represented Trump in his impeachment proceedings after January 6, and Evan Corcoran, who is a key witness in the criminal case against Trump in Florida, where Trump is accused of accumulate classified documents after leaving the White House.

Bannon is the second former Trump White House adviser to be sent to prison for defying the January 6 committee. Peter Navarro, Trump's former trade adviser, is currently serving a four-month sentence in Miami for ignoring a subpoena from the panel. The appeals court's rejection of Navarro's request to stay out of jail was a key factor in Nichols' decision to revoke Bannon's bail.

The Jan. 6 committee subpoenaed Bannon early in its investigation as part of a first wave of contact with key Trump advisers involved in his efforts to subvert the 2020 election. The panel cited reports that Bannon and Navarro worked together on what they called the “Green Bay Sweep” strategy to orchestrate challenges to the election results in Congress on January 6. Bannon also warned on his popular “War Room” podcast the day before Jan. 6 that “tomorrow all hell will break loose.” And White House call records obtained by the committee from Jan. 6 showed that Trump and Bannon were in contact at key times before Jan. 6.

Nichols also said his decision to revoke Bannon's bail was based on the appeals court's strong ruling in Bannon's own case, which flatly rejected key points that Nichols once said could lead the appeals court to review the sentence.

“We will go all the way to the Supreme Court if we have to,” Bannon said after Nichols' decision. “There is no prison or jail built that will silence me.”

Schoen asked House Speaker Mike Johnson to formally declare the committee's previous subpoenas on January 6 invalid, arguing that this would add legal weight to Bannon's appeal.

It is unclear how receptive the appeals court or the Supreme Court will be to a request by Bannon to remain free. Earlier this year, Navarro failed in the appeals court and made a similar argument to Chief Justice John Roberts, who oversees emergency matters in Washington, D.C.

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