Steve Bannon: Ex-White House adviser released from jail

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Bannon emerged from federal court after posting a $200,000 bond Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon has been released from custody pending trial on charges of contempt…

Steve Bannon: Ex-White House adviser released from jail

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Bannon emerged from federal court after posting a $200,000 bond

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon has been released from custody pending trial on charges of contempt of Congress.

Bannon, a member of Donald Trump’s election campaign team, was jailed for refusing to testify before the committee on a dispute over Russian election interference.

Mr Bannon had been cited for contempt of Congress because of repeated delays in submitting documents.

His wife was also ordered to hand over property she owns in the Cayman Islands, because of undisclosed taxes.

Bannon faced a maximum of 30 days in jail and fines of up to $100,000 for failing to provide information about the source of a payment to his ex-aide, and for refusing to hand over documents.

‘Demands to be treated like everyone else’

Despite the contempt charges and the difficulties his legal team had encountered in bringing the documents to light, Bannon had not spent the weekend in jail, according to White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.

“Mr Bannon is a political strategist, and has a right to defend himself in a court of law,” she said.

On Friday, Mr Bannon emerged from the courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia, that houses the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee after posting a $200,000 (£160,000) bond.

When reporters asked whether he would be making himself available for questioning before the same committee, Mr Bannon replied: “Yes, I will.”

He is now free to travel to the homeland of the executive branch, the government of California.

But Bannon’s attorneys said they were “extremely disappointed” in the fact he had not had a chance to avoid prosecution on the former charges.

They complained he had been given “the same treatment he demanded for all Americans” – being “excluded from proceedings in the relevant court”.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption President Trump failed to rule out a pardon for Bannon

Bannon had told CNN he would only answer questions under oath – but Representative Adam Schiff of California, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, said he was refusing to answer questions he had already answered in private.

Bannon’s lawyers also alleged that the committee’s actions had been motivated by “anti-Trump animus”.

On Wednesday, President Trump criticised the prosecutor seeking the contempt hearing, suggesting the staffer was “in over his head”.

Bannon’s lawyer, Charles Harder, made clear he intended to contest the order to jail his client.

“Mr Bannon has repeatedly complied with every request he has made to provide information and documents relevant to the Committees inquiries,” he said in a statement.

“He has continually extended his cooperation in an effort to reach a mutually agreeable resolution.

“Despite Mr Bannon’s willingness to provide up to and including standing trial, Mr Sessions and the Committee have refused to take into account his significant cooperation,” he added.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption A man was seen releasing a banner on a Trump supporter in Wisconsin who had left a traffic message across his face

The issue related to a $130,000 payment by the firm Essential Consultants, LLC, run by Mr Bannon, to former Breitbart News boss and close aide, Michael Caputo, to secure his silence over an alleged affair with a woman, who was not Ms Stephanie Clifford – otherwise known as Stormy Daniels.

Mr Bannon has repeatedly denied any involvement in the payment.

The House Intelligence Committee has been probing Russian election interference and collusion with associates of President Trump, and the allegations that those associates helped in aiding President Trump’s campaign.

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