We hear a lot of Democrats complaining about things like this, the length of time the justice Department is taking to indict Trump, we know that those involved and charged get pardoned or just get a slap on the wrist etc...but thankfully we have folks like Teri Kanefield to remind of what is actually happening and why.
*"Now let’s start with the timeline of Steve Bannon’s criminal charges:
Fraud / Money Laundering
August 20, 2020: Federal prosecutors brought charges against Bannon and two others for wire fraud and money laundering in connection with Bannon’s “We Build a Wall” fundraiser.
On January 20, 2021: Just before leaving office, Trump issued Bannon a last-minute pardon.
May 25, 2021: A federal judge, therefore, dismissed the indictment.
On September 8, 2022: Bannon was indicted in New York on charges of money laundering and one charge of conspiring to launder money in connection with his “We Build a Wall” fundraiser. (Because federal pardons don’t reach state crimes, Bannon could still be charged with the crimes if they also violated state law.)
The trial is still in the future. Notice the time frame: 16 months for a case already investigated under federal law.
Contempt of Congress
September 23, 2021: The Select Committee Investigating the January 6 insurrection subpoenaed Bannon.
Bannon blew off the subpoena.
On October 8, an influential account with 1.5 million followers tweeted this:
Twitter melted down. Notice that the tweet got 19K “likes.” Here are the errors in that tweet:
Congress cannot “enforce” a subpoena the way a grand jury can. A grand jury can jail someone until they comply, which is why Susan McDougal was jailed for such a long time. At any time, she could have complied and been released. Instead, what Congress can do is refer the matter to the DOJ for possible prosecution, where the goal is to punish, not secure compliance.
The work of the committee itself has nothing to do with “punishment” which is the purview of the executive branch.
Even if the January 6 committee elected for some reason not to follow up with a subpoena, the conclusion that the investigation will go “unexamined and unpunished” doesn’t follow.
In fact, the committee did follow up on the subpoena, the work of the January 6th committee was completed successfully, and the federal investigation is still ongoing. That tweet, however, was never taken down, and as far as I know, the person who posted it never retracted.
October 21, 2021: Congress asked the DOJ to investigate and prosecute Bannon for refusing to comply with the subpoena.
November 21, 2021: Steve Bannon was indicted for Contempt of Congress.
July 22, 2022: At trial, Bannon was found guilty of Contempt of Congress.
October 21, 2022: Bannon was sentenced to 4 months for contempt of Congress.
Under the federal sentencing guidelines, the penalty for a first offense of Contempt of Congress is 1 – 6 months. The judge gave Bannon 4 months. Generally, for a first offense, the judge gives the minimum which, in this case, would have been 1 month. The sentence, therefore, was high under the guidelines.
The judge then allowed Bannon to report for jail time after his appeal concluded. (The judge arguably should not have allowed Bannon to put off his jail time until his appeal.)
The Federal Sentencing Guidelines and Rule of Law
The federal sentencing guidelines are complex set of guidelines for federal judges to follow when deciding on punishment. Before the sentencing guidelines, federal judges had a lot of discretion and imposed whatever sentence they thought was fair. As a result, there was no uniformity. Two people could commit the same crime in two different regions and get widely different sentences. (This still happens with state crimes. Each state has its own laws, so California will impose different penalties than, say, Mississippi.)The sentencing guidelines were an attempt to create uniformity among federal courts.
The definition of “Rule of Law” is: The restriction of the arbitrary exercise of power by subordinating it to well-defined and established laws"
So literally, the sentencing guidelines advance rule of law by preventing a judge from following his or her whims.
Because the judge in Bannon’s case followed the guidelines (and in fact, handed down a harsh sentence under the guidelines), I was surprised (but shouldn’t have been) by the outpouring of rage and cynicism when the sentence was handed down."
* above is anexcerpt from Teri Kanefield's blog. Click link to read it in its entirety.