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News Every Day |

Steve Bannon's rise and fall: How the former Trump adviser went from the White House to the Big House

Steve Bannon at court
Steve Bannon argued in April that his criminal prosecution should be dismissed.
  • Steve Bannon, once considered the most powerful man in Trump's White House, was convicted Friday.
  • Bannon was found guilty of contempt of Congress after refusing to comply with the January 6 panel.
  • After the conviction, the former Trump adviser said he was willing to go to prison for Trump.

Steve Bannon was convicted Friday of contempt of Congress — marking a dramatic turn for the media executive turned political strategist who was once considered one of the most powerful people in former President Donald Trump's White House.

The conviction was related Bannon's refusal to comply with the House committee investigating the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021. A jury found him guilty on two counts, each of which carry a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine. His sentencing is set for October 21.

As he left the courtroom Friday, Bannon said he had lost the "battle" but not the "war," vowing to appeal the conviction. Speaking later on Fox News, he also warned the January 6 committee that "there's going to be a real committee, and this is going to be backed by Republican grassroots voters."

Here's how Bannon went from Trump's oval office to facing jail time.

Bannon served seven years in the Navy
A black and white portrait of Steve Bannon
Former Trump advisor Steve Bannon.

Bannon, 68, grew up in Virginia served in the Navy for seven years, including as an officer, in the late '70s and '80s. He was deployed to sea twice and spent a few years working at the Pentagon, an experience that would later be cited when he was tapped for Trump's White House. Bannon would say his experiences in the Navy significantly informed his politics and foreign policy views.

Before working for Trump, Bannon was best known for his work with Breitbart News
Breitbart News Daily host Stephen K. Bannon live on air at SiriusXM Broadcasts' New Hampshire Primary Coverage Live From Iconic Red Arrow Diner on February 8, 2016 in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Breitbart News Daily host Stephen Bannon live on air at SiriusXM Broadcasts' New Hampshire Primary Coverage Live on February 8, 2016.

After his military service, Bannon worked in a number of roles, including as an investment banker and an executive producer in the film and media industry.

But Bannon was best known for his work with Breitbart News, the far-right media website founded by conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart in 2007. Bannon was a founding member of the board and served as executive chariman. He became the de facto face of Breitbart when its founder died in 2012. In 2016, Bannon declared the site "the platform for the alt-right."

"We think of ourselves as virulently anti-establishment, particularly 'anti-' the permanent political class," Bannon told The Washington Post in January 2016.

Bannon joined Trump's 2016 campaign two months before the election
Steve Bannon, campaign CEO for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, right, looks on during a national security meeting with advisors at Trump Tower, Friday, Oct. 7, 2016, in New York.
Steve Bannon, campaign CEO for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, right, looks on during a national security meeting with advisors at Trump Tower, Friday, Oct. 7, 2016, in New York.

Bannon stepped down from his role at Breitbart to join Trump's campaign as its chief executive in August 2016, two months before the election.

The appointment of Bannon was notable as Breitbart was well known for its nationalist views, conspiratorial bent, and attacks on the Republican party establishment — points that would become hallmarks of Trump's politics.

The decision also suggested Trump was uninterested in distancing himself from the controversial, racially-charged comments he made during his campaign that mainstream Republicans had hoped he would reel in.

Trump appointed Bannon as his chief strategist and senior counsel
In this Jan. 23, 2017 file photo, White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, right, and others, watch as President Donald Trump signs an executive order in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington.
In this Jan. 23, 2017 file photo, White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, right, and others, watch as President Donald Trump signs an executive order in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington.

Days after Trump won the election in 2016, he announced he was appointing Bannon to serve as his chief strategist and special counselor. A statement issued by the president-elect said Bannon and Trump's Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, would be "equal partners."

The appointment of Bannon prompted criticism, including from some Republicans and strategists who worried about the alt-right figure's connection to white nationalists, who had embraced him.

"I want to thank President-elect Trump for the opportunity to work with Reince in driving the agenda of the Trump Administration," Bannon said in a statement after his appointment. "We had a very successful partnership on the campaign, one that led to victory. We will have that same partnership in working to help President-elect Trump achieve his agenda."

Bannon gained a reputation as the most powerful man in Trump's White House
Steve Bannon on the phone wearing a green jacket.
"War Room" podcast host and former Trump advisor Steve Bannon.

After Trump took office in January 2017, Bannon quickly gained a reputation as one of the most powerful people in the White House, as demonstrated in a Time Magazine cover story about him that ran the following month titled "The Great Manipulator."

Time cited early actions taken by Trump that appeared to satisfy some of Bannon's top priorities, like abruptly shutting down the US refugee program for 120 days and banning travelers from Muslim-majority countries.

Bannon was ousted from White House after a turbulent seven months
Charlie Rose talks to Stephen K. Bannon in his first extended interview since leaving his job as chief strategist in the Trump White House on August 18, 2017.
Charlie Rose talks to Stephen K. Bannon in his first extended interview since leaving his job as chief strategist in the Trump White House on August 18, 2017.

In August 2017, seven months after Trump took office, Bannon's time in the White House ran out. He was one of several officials ousted in the fallout of Trump saying "both sides" were to blame at the Charlottesville, Virginia, Unite the Right rally during which a white supremacist drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing Heather Heyer.

The New York Times reported issues between Trump and Bannon had sprung up well before then, with the president thinking his chief strategist was taking too much credit for the administration's work and possibly leaking to the press.

Bannon returned to Breitbart but left shortly after amid his spat with Trump
Steve Bannon, former White House chief strategist and chairman of Breitbart News, attends a discussion on countering violent extremism, at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, October 23, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Steve Bannon, former White House chief strategist and chairman of Breitbart News, attends a discussion on countering violent extremism, at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, October 23, 2017 in Washington, DC.

Within days of leaving the White House in August 2017, Bannon was back at Breitbart. But in January 2018, he again stepped down after negative comments he made about Trump resulted in tension between him and other conservatives.

After Bannon was quoted in a book criticizing Trump and his adult children, Trump blasted Bannon, saying he had "very little to do with our historic victory" in 2016 and that Bannon had "lost his mind" when he was fired from the White House.

Bannon was indicted on federal fraud charges in 2020 but was later pardoned by Trump
President Donald Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon speaks with reporters after pleading not guilty to charges that he ripped off donors to an online fundraising scheme to build a southern border wall, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020, in New York.
President Donald Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon speaks with reporters after pleading not guilty to charges that he ripped off donors to an online fundraising scheme to build a southern border wall, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020, in New York.

Bannon was charged in August 2020 with defrauding donors in an online fundraising effort called "We Build the Wall."

Bannon and three others were charged in the plot, which prosecutors said intended to defraud donors out of $25 million that they claimed would be used on Trump's border wall. Bannon has denied the charges.

However, in his last days in office Trump pardoned Bannon, granting him clemency from the money laundering and fraud charges. Despite their prior falling out, the two went on to make positive comments about each other.

 

In fall 2021, Bannon refused to comply with the January 6 committee and was indicted on contempt of Congress
Former White House strategist Steve Bannon speaks with reporters after departing federal court on Nov. 15, 2021, in Washington.
Former White House strategist Steve Bannon speaks with reporters after departing federal court on Nov. 15, 2021, in Washington.

In September 2021, the House committee investigating the Capitol riot issued subpoenas for a number of people close to Trump, including Bannon.

The following month, Bannon's lawyer sent a letter to the committee saying Bannon would not comply and that he didn't need to because of Trump's right to executive privilege.

In November, a federal grand jury indicted Bannon on contempt of Congress for refusing to appear for a deposition and failure to produce documents for the January 6 committee.

Bannon was found guilty on two counts of contempt of Congress
Former White House strategist Steve Bannon accompanied by his attorneys David Schoen, left and M. Evan Corcoran speaks with the media as he departs the federal court after a jury found him guilty on both counts in his contempt-of-Congress trial in Washington, Friday, July 22, 2022.
Steve Bannon accompanied by his attorneys speaks with the media as he departs the federal court after a jury found him guilty of contempt of Congress in Washington, Friday, July 22, 2022.

On Friday, Bannon was found guilty of two contempt of Congress charges after his attempts to delay the trial were denied.

"Mr. Bannon had an obligation to appear before the House Select Committee to give testimony and provide documents," Matt Graves, the Biden-appointed US attorney in Washington, DC, said, hailing the verdict. "His refusal to do so was deliberate and now a jury has found that he must pay the consequences."

Bannon, whose sentencing is set for October, has vowed to appeal the decision.

After the verdict, he said he was willing to go to prison if it meant standing by Trump and refusing to comply with the committee.

"I support Trump and the Constitution and if they want to put me in jail for that, so be it," Bannon said on Fox News.

Read the original article on Business Insider








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