The indictment came hours after Trump's former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows refused to show up for a committee deposition after being subpoenaed.

Steve Bannon, a prominent adviser to former US President Donald Trump faces two counts of contempt of US Congress.
Steve Bannon, a prominent adviser to former US President Donald Trump faces two counts of contempt of US Congress. (Reuters)

Former US president Donald Trump's longtime advisor Steve Bannon has been criminally charged for defying a subpoena issued by a congressional committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

The Justice Department said on Friday that Bannon was charged with one count of contempt of Congress for refusing to appear for a deposition, and a second count for refusing to produce documents. 

Contempt of Congress is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $100,000.

Trump has sought to stonewall the committee, which is scrutinizing his actions relating to the deadly Capitol riot, and urged his former associates not to cooperate. 

The decision to charge Bannon may bolster the committee's efforts to secure testimony and documents from other Trump advisers.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said the indictment reflects the Justice Department's "steadfast commitment" to ensuring that the department adheres to the rule of law.

READ MORE: US House holds Trump ally Bannon in contempt for defying summons

Meadows fails to show for deposition

Bannon's indictment was announced just hours after Trump's former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows refused to appear for a deposition before the committee, risking being also found in contempt of Congress.

Investigators think Meadows and Bannon could have information on links between the White House and the Trump supporters who invaded the Capitol to prevent the certification of Joe Biden as winner of the November 2020 presidential election.

The attack, during which five people died, succeeded in delaying the joint House-Senate election certification session for several hours.

Bannon, a prominent figure in conservative media circles who previously headed the Breitbart News website, served as chief strategist for Trump in the White House after playing a senior role in his 2016 election campaign. 

Bannon continued to offer Trump advice even after leaving his White House post in 2017.

It is the second time in two years that Bannon has faced criminal charges. Bannon was charged in 2020 with defrauding donors to We Build the Wall, a private fund-raising effort to boost Trump's wall project along the US-Mexican border, and arrested aboard a yacht belonging to a fugitive Chinese billionaire.

READ MORE: US President Biden rejects bid by Trump to withhold January 6 documents

Source: TRTWorld and agencies