Steve Bannon, a former political strategist for President Donald Trump, has agreed that he will speak with the January 6, committee, just days before his contempt-of-Congress trial is due to begin. Many legal experts doubt that Bannon is sincere in his desire to cooperate as a witness.
The House select committee investigating Capitol attack subpoenaed Bannon for his involvement in discussions regarding planning for January 6. “Stephen Bannon reportedly communicated with former President Trump on December 30th, 2020, urging him to focus his efforts on January 6th,” the committee wrote in a press release last fall. “Mr. Bannon also reportedly attended a gathering at the Willard Hotel on January 5th, 2021, as part of an effort to persuade Members of Congress to block the certification of the election the next day.”
Bannon refused the subpoena and claimed that he was not authorized to talk because of executive privilege claims Trump purportedly invoked. The committee Bannon was recommended to be charged with contempt of CongressThe House voted in favor of the following: Later, he was indicted by Department of Justice (DOJ)..
Bannon stated in his court filing that Trump openly doubts January 6’s legitimacy. waived executive privilege for him, allowing Bannon to “go in and testify truthfully and fairly, as per the request of the unselect committee of political thugs and hacks.”
His claims that Trump invoked executive privilege in the first place, however, were highly dubious — several legal experts say that only the current president can invoke such claims. It was revealed Monday that Trump had never actually made a formal claim of privilege for BannonThat would have required him not to speak up about their conversations.
Bannon’s contempt of Congress trial was set to commence on July 18. According to his latest filing to court, he claims he is now willing and able to testify. This raises questions about whether or not the trial will be postponed or canceled. Meanwhile, the DOJ responded to his announcement with a filing of its own, saying that Bannon’s intentions were questionable.
Bannon’s moves suggest that his “sudden wish to testify is not a genuine effort to meet his obligations but a last-ditch attempt to avoid accountability,” the DOJ said in its filing.
“The only thing that has really changed since he refused to comply with the subpoena in October 2021 is that he is finally about to face the consequences of his decision to default,” the department added.
Several legal minds questioned over the weekend whether Bannon, with or without Trump’s blessing, had something else in mind. He stated in his filing that he was available to speak with the committee. Bannon said that he preferred to do so publicly — an action that wouldn’t allow the panel to vet his answers, meaning that he could potentially give responses that contradicted evidence the committee has regarding the Capitol attack and attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
“My feeling as a prosecutor would be this is a Trojan horse, coming into spread nonsense and to try to come in from inside, blow up the investigation,” former federal prosecutor John Flannery said on MSNBC over the weekend.
Joyce Alene, an ex-prosecutor, also agreed.
“Given Bannon’s clear statements over time that he wants to burn all of government down there is no reason to treat this like a good faith offer,” Alene wrote on Twitter. “As with all other witnesses, he should have to speak privately with the committee, under oath, first to test his truthfulness.”
However, it is likely that Bannon will be requested to appear before the January 6 committee. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D.California), is a member the panel. said that the committee “has not yet had a chance to discuss” Bannon’s change of heart.
“But I expect that we will be hearing from him,” she added. “And there are many questions that we have for him.”