Weird Twist: DOJ Steps In To Push For Harsher Sentence For Former Trump Advisor
Former White House aide, Steve Bannon, is now facing some unusual punishment for refusing to show up before the J6 committee. Bannon was under the impression that he was protected by executive privilege and the DOJ argues now, that he was not. In order to make an example out of Bannon, the DOJ is recommending the max penalty for what is essentially a misdemeanor that rarely sees jail time.
In a filing Monday, the Justice Department said "the rioters that overran the Capitol on January 6 did not just attack a building—they assaulted the rule of law upon which this country was built and through which it endures."
Bannon, a former Trump aide, says that he was protected by executive privilege but according to the DOJ, that just isn't so. To them, even if Bannon was still acting as an advisor to Trump, he was no longer an employee of the government. They argue that Bannon left the White House back in 2017.
"By floating the Select Committee’s subpoena and its authority, the Defendant exacerbated that assault," the Justice Department wrote. "To this day, he continues to unlawfully withhold documents and testimony that stand to help the Committee’s authorized investigation to get to the bottom of what led to January 6 and ascertain what steps must be taken to ensure that it never happens again."
The DOJ added: "That cannot be tolerated."
The DOJ said that respect for the rule of law is "essential to the functioning of the United States government and to preserving the freedom and good order this country has enjoyed for more than two centuries."
"The Defendant’s bad-faith strategy of defiance and contempt deserves severe punishment," the Justice Department said, recommending that the court impose a six-month prison sentence "reflecting the most severe Guidelines-compliant punishment available" and fine Bannon $200,000.
Again, this is worth discussing because even if Bannon wasn't protected by executive privilege, the fact that the DOJ is pursuing the harshest possible punishment is unusual. The average person facing similar charges wouldn't typically face that kind of punishment so doesn't this seem like an abuse of power?