Former Trump aide promised “hell” to Democrats after appearing before the FBI

Steve Bannon, a close ally of former President Donald Trump, vowed on Monday to go on the “offensive” against US power after appearing in a Washington court accused of “obstructing the prerogatives of the congressional investigation” into the attack by supporters of the former president. to the Capitol on January 6.

“We are going on offense, we are tired of playing defense,” he assured reporters after his appearance, accusing Democratic President Joe Biden of directly ordering the process.

“This country was built on the foundation of free speech,” he added, and promised “hell” for Democratic officials.

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“Brace yourselves,” he repeated, using a controversial Trump phrase during the campaign, when the former president called on the far-right group Proud Boys to “stay smart.”

The 67-year-old former adviser is on trial for refusing to testify and submit documents to the special commission of the House of Representatives that investigates the role of the former Republican president in the violent invasion of his supporters to the headquarters of Congress, which left five dead.

Bannon appeared before Federal Judge Robin Meriweather, who presented the charges against him, before being released. He is scheduled to appear again on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. local time (2:00 p.m. GMT) before another judge.

He faces a penalty of between 30 days and one year in jail for each of the two charges against him.

Despite being summoned in mid-October, Bannon did not appear before the commission’s legislators, invoking the right of US presidents to keep certain information confidential.

A low-key but highly influential adviser, he played a key role in Trump’s election by putting a populist spin on the Republican billionaire’s triumphant 2016 campaign, before falling from grace.

Bannon was not in any official capacity on Jan. 6, the day of the Capitol invasion, but apparently discussed the protest with the president in the days before, according to the commission of inquiry.

The commission, which has already received more than 150 testimonies, said Bannon’s indictment sends “a clear message” about the expected risks for all who refuse to cooperate with lawmakers.

Another Trump ally, his former chief of staff Mark Meadows, also skipped a subpoena to appear before the commission on Friday.

That January 6 in question, thousands of Trump supporters gathered in Washington as Congress addressed the certification of Biden’s electoral victory. It was then that hundreds of them invaded the Capitol, sowing chaos and violence, forcing the legislative session to be delayed for several hours.

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