Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon surrendered to federal authorities Monday in Washington, where he's facing two charges of contempt of Congress.
“We're taking down the Biden regime,” a defiant Bannon said on his way into the FBI field office to have his arrest processed. He appeared in court later in the day, and was released on his own recognizance after surrendering his passport. He's due back in court on Thursday, when he's expected to be arraigned and enter a plea.
"I'm never going to back down," he said after the hearing. "They took on the wrong guy this time."
Bannon was a senior advisor to Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and then served as a top aide for his first seven months in office, exiting the administration in August 2017. Bannon provided informal advice to Trump and his team after the 2020 election and ahead of the Jan. 6 riot.
In the final hours of his presidency, Trump pardoned Bannon, who was facing criminal charges after being accused of duping donors who believed they were giving him money to help build a wall along the U.S. southern border.
The committee has pointed to comments Bannon made on his podcast the day before the riot as an example of why he should answer questions.
"It's not going to happen like you think it's going to happen. OK, it's going to be quite extraordinarily different. All I can say is, strap in," Bannon said. "All hell is going to break loose tomorrow. ... So many people said, 'Man, if I was in a revolution, I would be in Washington.' Well, this is your time in history."
One of the counts is for refusing to appear for a deposition and the other is for declining to produce documents requested by the committee.
If convicted, Bannon could face up to a year behind bars and a fine of up to $100,000.
One of Bannon's attorneys, David Schoen, told reporters after the hearing that he plans to argue that Bannon was following the advice of another of his lawyers when he refused to cooperate with committee and cited Trump's claim of executive privilege in their conversations.
"This is unheard of, to force a person to violate the invocation of executive privilege," said Schoen, who represented former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial.
Bannon made the "regime" comment while promoting his podcast to a right-wing social media site before he turned himself in.
"I don't want anybody to take their eye off the ball of what we do every day," Bannon said. "This is all noise."