Merrick Garland Sends a Steve Bannon–Shaped Message to Trump Lackeys: Don’t F–k With Us
Since the House appointed a select committee to investigate the events before, during, and after the January 6 attack on the Capitol, Donald Trump has made it clear that not only will he personally be stonewalling the probe, but he’ll do everything in his power to ensure his many minions do the same. Unfortunately for the ex-president, that strategy hasn‘t been working out so well of late. For one thing, a federal judge ruled three times in two days this week that Trump cannot actually claim executive privilege in an attempt to block the information Congress has requested (a federal appeals court on Thursday gave him a reprieve by temporarily halting the release of said information). Perhaps more importantly, though, on Friday afternoon the Justice Department sent a clear message to anyone entertaining the idea of ignoring congressional subpoenas on the former guy’s behalf: Don‘t fuck with us.
Shortly after 3 p.m., the DOJ announced that a federal grand jury had indicted ex-Trump adviser Steve Bannon for contempt of Congress, following the House’s vote to hold him in contempt after refusing to appear for a deposition with January 6 investigators, and his refusal to turn over requested documents. Bannon was charged with one count for each offense, which could add up to two years in jail, the Justice Department said. “Since my first day in office, I have promised Justice Department employees that together we would show the American people by word and deed that the department adheres to the rule of law, follows the facts and the law, and pursues equal justice under the law,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. “Today’s charges reflect the department’s steadfast commitment to these principles.”
In October, Politico reported that Trump’s attorney sent a letter to four former aides, including Bannon, instructing them not to cooperate with the House probe, claiming the information being sought by the committee was covered by executive privilege, a line Bannon’s own lawyer parroted back to the committee in explaining why he would not be showing up for his deposition. (“The executive privileges belong to President Trump…we must accept his direction and honor his invocation of executive privilege,” lawyer Robert Costello wrote, while, we assume, Trump scratched behind his ears and called him a “very good boy.”) Of course, according to committee chair Representative Bennie Thompson, that position was and is bullshit. “Mr. Bannon has declined to cooperate with the Select Committee and is instead hiding behind the former President’s insufficient, blanket, and vague statements regarding privileges he has purported to invoke. We reject his position entirely,” Thompson said in a statement at the time.
Garland and the DOJ have been under major pressure to hold Bannon accountable, as letting him just ignore congressional subpoenas and go about his merry way would send a message to other Trump allies that they could do the same. Bannon is considered to be a key witness for the January 6 select committee because he reportedly had conversations with Trump in the weeks leading up to the attack on the Capitol, was present in the “war room” of Trump allies as the attack unfolded, and told podcast listeners on January 5, “All hell is going to break loose tomorrow.” In September, Bannon admitted that he told Trump before the insurrection that he needed to “kill [the Biden] administration in the crib early on.” “In short, Mr. Bannon appears to have played a multi-faceted role in the events of January 6th, and the American people are entitled to hear his first-hand testimony regarding his actions,” the House committee said in its report putting forward a contempt resolution against Bannon.
According to NBC News, Bannon is expected to self-surrender on Monday. Also on Friday, Trump’s fourth and final chief of staff, Mark Meadows, failed to appear for a scheduled deposition with the committee; so presumably, he can expect to be indicted too.
Bannon, like many former advisers to Trump, nearly a dozen of whom have been charged with crimes, is no stranger to legal troubles. In August 2020, he was arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, after having allegedly defrauded hundreds of thousands of people who donated money to a crowdfunding campaign to build the southern border wall. Luckily for Bannon, who pleaded not guilty to the scam, he had a friend in the White House at the time, and on his last day in office, Trump pardoned the guy before his May 24 trial date. This time around, though, the former senior adviser, known for both calling for Anthony Fauci to be beheaded and for allegedly filling a hot tub with acid, no longer has friends in high places and may actually be held accountable for his actions.
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In other Bannon news…
He’s apparently under the impression he can still get the 2020 election overturned.
Is 1,200 emails considered a lot to exchange with Jeffrey Epstein?
Asking for a former bank CEO who abruptly resigned from his job last week, in a turn of events that is starting to make sense. Per the Financial Times:
Kathleen Harris, a lawyer for Staley, told the FT: “We wish to make it expressly clear that our client had no involvement in any of the alleged crimes committed by Mr. Epstein, and code words were never used by Mr. Staley in any communications with Mr. Epstein, ever.” She added that all of the emails were completely innocuous. On the other hand, who emails with an accused sex offender, on average, 300 times a year, i.e. almost daily?
To be clear, 2013 was four years after Epstein was sentenced to 18 months in prison for procuring a child for prostitution and soliciting a prostitute. So there’s that.
2021: When it became newsworthy for a Republican admitting he lost an election fair and square
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Emails reveal new details of Trump White House interference in CDC COVID planning (Politico)
COVID-19 numbers seem stuck. That doesn’t bode well for winter, experts say (CNN)
California Officially Broadens Booster Access to All Adults (NYT)
How critical race theory went from conservative battle cry to mainstream powder keg (USA Today)
Published at Fri, 12 Nov 2021 23:27:46 +0000