'He's Exposed': Steve Bannon Could Go to Jail for Defying Jan. 6 Subpoenas, Says Rep. Raskin

Maryland Representative Jamie Raskin has said that Steve Bannon, the former White House Chief Strategist under former President Donald Trump, is "completely exposed" to possible arrest if he defies a subpoena issued by the House Select Committee on the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Trump has invoked executive privilege to prevent his former aides from testifying before the investigative committee. Executive privilege is a presidential power that bars the president's communications from being shared with Congress.

As a result, Bannon has said that he won't cooperate with the committee's subpoenas. He had until midnight last Thursday to hand over documents relating to January 6 to the committee.

But Raskin, a Democrat who sits on the committee, said that that executive privilege doesn't extend to Bannon because Bannon was fired from the executive branch before he allegedly consulted Trump on overturning the 2020 election and holding a "Stop the Steal" rally on January 6.

Executive privilege is generally limited to people who spoke with the president while working in the White House.

Steve Bannon subpoena Jamie Raskin
Maryland Representative Jamin Raskin has said that Steve Bannon is "completely exposed" to possible arrest if he defies a Congressional subpoena about the January 6 attack. Above, Bannon exits the Manhattan Federal Court on August 20, 2020, in New York City. Stephanie Keith/Getty

"[Bannon] wasn't working for the executive branch," Raskin said in a Monday interview with MSNBC. Bannon served as White House chief strategist and senior counselor to Trump from January 2017 until August 18, 2017, when Trump fired him.

"So even if you assume hypothetically that Donald Trump has some kind of executive privilege, which is extremely dubious in itself," Raskin continued, "how could that extend to Steve Bannon? So he's completely exposed."

Raskin then mentioned that Susan McDougal, a business associate of Bill and Hillary Clinton, spent 18 months in jail from 1996 to 1998 because she refused to participate in the congressional Whitewater investigation against then-President Bill Clinton while she was under subpoena.

"Does the law only apply against Democrats?" Raskin asked hypothetically. "I don't think so."

The committee issued its subpoenas to learn what part Trump and his allies may have played in the January 6 Capitol riots. The riots occurred when thousands of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol to prevent Congress from certifying the electoral victory of now-President Joe Biden.

In late 2020, Bannon allegedly convinced Trump to return to Washington D.C. for January 6, the day the Capitol riots took place, according to Peril, a book published in September by journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa.

"Mr. Bannon has indicated that he will try to hide behind vague references to privileges of the former President," committee chair Bennie Thompson and vice-chair Liz Cheney said in a joint statement last week. "The Select Committee fully expects all of these witnesses to comply with our demands for both documents and deposition testimony."

The two leaders said the committee "will not allow any witness to defy a lawful subpoena or attempt to run out the clock, and we will swiftly consider advancing a criminal contempt of Congress referral."

Biden has said that his administration will evaluate Trump's invocation of executive privilege on an "ongoing" case-by-case basis. Any criminal prosecutions of those who ignore the committee's requests will be decided on by the Department of Justice, the White House said.

Newsweek contacted the White House for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.