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Why federal prosecutors subpoenaed Steve Bannon in Jan. 6 case

Steve Bannon has been subpoenaed by a grand jury in the Jan. 6 case. The last time he faced a related subpoena, he ended up being charged and convicted.


Much of the recent focus on special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation has been on Donald Trump’s classified documents scandal. That’s understandable: The former president has been formally notified that he’s the target of a criminal probe and might soon be indicted.

But Smith’s other investigation is advancing, too. NBC News reported:

Former Trump White House official Steve Bannon has been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., in connection with special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into Jan. 6 and former President Donald Trump’s efforts to stay in office, according to two sources familiar with the matter. The subpoena, for documents and testimony, was sent out late last month, the sources said.

If this sounds at all familiar, it’s not your imagination: The bipartisan House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attacks issued subpoenas in September 2021, seeking information from a variety of key Trump insiders — and Bannon was at the top of the list.

The far-right media personality refused to comply, which touched off a lengthy legal fight that culminated in a criminal conviction: A jury last summer found Bannon guilty on two counts of contempt of Congress for blowing off the Jan. 6 committee. In October, he was sentenced to four months in prison, though he remains free while the appeals process unfolds.

Now, Bannon has been subpoenaed again — not by a congressional committee, but by federal prosecutors eager to learn more about what he knows.

Their interest is understandable: The one thing everyone involved in the process can agree on is that Bannon has important insights related to the Jan. 6 attack. He was in communications with Trump in the runup to the insurrectionist riot, for example, and he reportedly told the outgoing president, “[I]t’s time to kill the Biden presidency in the crib.”

What’s more, the day before the assault on the Capitol, Bannon seemed to know something about what was likely to happen, telling his podcast listeners, “All hell is going to break loose tomorrow. Just understand this: All hell is going to break loose tomorrow ... [A]ll I can say is: Strap in. You have made this happen, and tomorrow it’s game day.”

Will a grand jury soon learn what he meant by that? Watch this space.

Postscript: All of this is unrelated to Bannon’s ongoing criminal case in New York, and the federal criminal case against Bannon from 2020, for which he received a pardon from Trump on the former president’s last day in office.

This post revises our related earlier coverage.