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.), who expressed hesitancy to offer immunity in exchange 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 Trump, said in an interview Sunday with NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Bannon, 67, who served as a senior counselor to Trump, was indicted Friday after he refused to appear for a deposition and provide documents as part of a subpoena from the committee. Each count carries a minimum of 30 days in jail and up to a 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 has meanwhile continued to take shots at the Jan. 6 investigation and in a red herring has called for an investigation into his unsubstantiated claims that the presidential election was stolen from him. Lawsuits, audits and recounts have been carried out, including by Trump supporters, and no evidence has been found to support his claims.
Bannon is expected to surrender to authorities on Monday and appear in court that afternoon, The Associated Press reported, citing a law enforcement official.