Bannon to plead not guilty to contempt charges

Onetime White House strategist Stephen Bannon moved to plead not guilty Wednesday to criminal contempt of Congress charges after he failed to comply with a subpoena from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

Bannon was indicted by a federal grand jury Friday, facing two counts: one for failing to appear for an Oct. 14 deposition before the panel and another for refusal to provide documents. 

The filing anticipates an arraignment scheduled for Thursday for Bannon in which he was expected to plead not guilty. His lawyers filed a motion Wednesday to enter the not guilty plea and skip the arraignment — a move that requires approval from the judge. 

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If convicted, Bannon faces serious penalties. Each charge carries a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of one year in jail, as well as a fine of $100 to $100,000, meaning Bannon could be fined up to $200,000 and spend as much as two years in jail.

“I'm telling you right now, this is going to be the misdemeanor from hell for Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandBiden Supreme Court study panel unanimously approves final report Lawmakers call for investigation into proposed AT&T WarnerMedia, Discovery merger Family asks for better treatment for Maxwell as trial stretches on MORE, Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse approves bill to ease passage of debt limit hike Ocasio-Cortez: 'Embarrassment' that Democratic leaders are delaying Boebert punishment Overnight Health Care — Biden mandate faces Dem resistance MORE and Joe BidenJoe BidenHouse passes 8B defense policy bill House approves bill to ease passage of debt limit hike Senate rejects attempt to block Biden's Saudi arms sale MORE. ... We’re going on the offense,” Bannon told reporters Monday after turning himself in to federal authorities.

“Not just Trump people and not just conservatives — every progressive, every liberal in this country that likes freedom of speech and liberty should be fighting for this case. That's why I'm here today: for everybody. I'm never going to back down,” he said.

Bannon’s battle comes as the Jan. 6 panel may pursue similar charges for others who have defied the committee.

Committee Chairman Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonLanguage requiring companies to report cyberattacks left out of defense bill Jan. 6 panel threatens Meadows with contempt Meadows reverses, won't agree to Jan. 6 panel deposition MORE (D-Miss.) told reporters at the Capitol on Tuesday that he would send a final warning to former White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsJan. 6 panel threatens Meadows with contempt Trump considered withdrawing Kavanaugh nomination over beer comments, being 'too apologetic': Meadows book Meadows reverses, won't agree to Jan. 6 panel deposition MORE that he needs to show for a deposition or face a referral to the Justice Department for criminal contempt of Congress.

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Jeffrey Clark, a former mid-level attorney at the Department of Justice who former President TrumpDonald TrumpSenate rejects attempt to block Biden's Saudi arms sale Crenshaw slams House Freedom Caucus members as 'grifters,' 'performance artists' Senate confirms Biden's nominee to lead Customs and Border Protection MORE considered installing as attorney general, has also been identified by the committee as failing to cooperate.

Bannon has argued that Trump’s claims of executive privilege bar him from cooperating with the committee. The committee has said such arguments are spurious given that Bannon was not a White House employee at the time in question, and that only sitting presidents can seek to block testimony before a congressional committee.

Trump’s lawsuit seeking to block the select committee from obtaining White House records over his assertions of executive privilege will head before a federal appeals court on Nov. 30.

Updated at 1:42 p.m.