Steve Bannon’s indictment on two counts of criminal contempt of Congress will “without a doubt” drive others to cooperate with the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection, said Rep. Adam Schiff(D-Calif.), which expressed hesitation to offer immunity in return for testimony.
“Witnesses see that if they don’t cooperate, if they don’t fulfill their lawful duty when subpoenaed, that they too may be prosecuted,” Schiff, who’s part of the committee investigating the U.S. Capitol riot by supporters of former President Donald TrumpIn, an interview Sunday with NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
After refusing to take a deposition or provide documents in response to a subpoena issued by the committee, Bannon (67), was arrested. Each charge carries at most 30 days jail time and can go up to a whole year behind bars.
Asked whether some immunity could be offered in exchange for testimony, Schiff said he believes it would have to be made “on a case-by-case basis.”
“I certainly wouldn’t want to prevent the Justice Department from prosecuting people who committed criminal conduct,” he said.
Schiff said that even before the Justice Department took action with criminal charges, it influenced other witnesses to cooperate with the committee’s investigation. He considered this to be “an early test of whether democracy was recovering.”
“If our laws mean anything, it has to be applied equally. And so I’m very glad that the Justice Department has moved forward in this fashion,” he said.
Trump continues to criticize the Jan.6 investigation, and has in an act of red herring called for an investigation into unsubstantiated claims that he was robbed of the presidency. Trump supporters have also conducted audits and counted the votes, but no proof has been provided.
Bannon is likely to surrender to authorities and to appear before the court in the afternoon. The Associated Press reportedWe are citing an official of law enforcement.