In his column for the Atlantic, political analyst David Graham claimed that the sentence of four months handed to former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon on Friday for ignoring a congressional subpoena may not have been what critics of the two wanted, but added that it did send a message to Trump loyalists who are also holding out.
On Friday, Bannon was sentenced after being found guilty on "two counts of contempt of Congress this summer after Judge Carl J. Nichols rejected an array of arguments offered by Mr. Bannon’s defense team, including that he was protected by executive privilege from being compelled to testify," the New York Times reported.
As Graham explained, the very fact that Bannon was sentenced to jail time makes it a "landmark" case.
Writing, "The sentence is a landmark because no one has been sentenced to prison for contempt of Congress in decades. The term is shy of the six months that prosecutors sought, but well more than the 30-day mandatory minimum, as well as the probation that Bannon’s lawyers sought. He probably won’t see the inside of a cell for some time, if ever, as he is free while he appeals," he added, "Bannon’s sentence is a victory for the rule of law—but not an unmitigated one. It is a message to those in the Trump orbit that you cannot simply ignore laws, and that Trump’s umbrella of protection has big holes. It also demonstrates that the ability to defy Congress is large, but not infinite."
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Pointing out that Bannon could not expect a pardon for defying Congress since Trump is now out of office, Graham wrote, "The committee called his bluff and referred him to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution."
As he noted, Trump won't be able to help Bannon in the future either unless he is somehow re-elected in 2024.
"Because Trump is no longer president, he can’t shield Bannon, who is also separately facing charges of fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy in New York State related to a bizarre ploy to build a border wall with private money, he explained before adding, "If Trump is reelected president in 2024, Bannon might be in line for another pardon, but that’s some time off, and won’t be a great deal of comfort if Bannon is stuck in a federal prison for months."
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