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Prosecutors wrap up case against Bannon after two witnesses

Former White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon speaks with reporters after leaving federal court on July 19. Accompanying Bannon are his attorneys David Schoen, left, and M. Evan Corcoran. (Alex Brandon/AP)

Prosecutors wrapped up their case against Stephen K. Bannon after calling two witnesses on Wednesday, including a Jan. 6 committee staffer who told jurors that the panel warned Bannon of possible criminal charges after his attorney first indicated that he would not comply with a congressional subpoena.

Committee general counsel Kristin Amerling took the stand again on the first full day of testimony after a rocky start to the proceeding. Bannon’s attorneys had sought a delay to his trial on charges of contempt of Congress on Tuesday over questions about what evidence was allowed, but U.S. District Judge Carl J. Nichols ordered that the trial proceed, and opening statements were given that afternoon.

The judge warned the defense on Wednesday that he would intervene during the questioning of witnesses to keep them from turning the trial into a “political circus.”

Former Trump adviser Stephen K. Bannon slammed the Jan. 6 committee hearing as a “show trial” after exiting jury selection on July 18. (Video: Reuters)

Federal prosecutors raised concerns that Bannon’s defense seems built around the claim that the subpoena issued by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol was “illegitimate” because it was motivated by politics.

In addition to testimony from Amerling, jurors heard from an FBI agent who investigated the case. The jury also learned details about Bannon’s offer just days before his trial to cooperate with the committee.

Bannon, a former political strategist for Donald Trump, was indicted on two misdemeanor contempt charges and accused of refusing to comply with an order from the House committee to turn over records and testify about his actions ahead of the attack.

Bannon’s attorneys have argued that their client did not “ignore” the committee’s formal request but was in negotiations with the panel.

Bannon’s trial, which continues Thursday, is underway as the committee continues to hold high-stakes televised hearings that are examining the events that led to the insurrection.

Read our coverage from Day 3 of trial here.

11:59 a.m.
Headshot of Isaac Stanley-Becker
National political reporter
Former Trump confidant Stephen K. Bannon has so far not been a major focus of the House Jan. 6 committee’s public hearings, to the surprise of some observers. He has come up on several occasions, perhaps most notably when the committee played a clip from his talk show “War Room” of Bannon predicting on Jan. 5, 2021, that “all hell is going to break loose tomorrow.”Committee members revealed at their seventh hearing that White House phone logs showed that Bannon spoke that morning to President Donald Trump, before he issued his pronouncement about Jan. 6. They also spoke again that evening.Bannon’s defense team has repeatedly sought to delay his trial by arguing that the congressional hearings are likely to prejudice jurors. So far, the judge has rejected that argument.