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Analysis: Steve Bannon’s Circus Cuts Tough Legal Strategy Of The January 6 Inquiry


But the risks of that strategy became apparent Monday when the former President’s political pursuer turned himself in to the FBI after a grand jury prosecute him for contempt of Congress last week. Once a bystander’s ball-smasher, Bannon sets the example for turning Trump’s efforts to hold those accountable into fuel for more extremism.

He vowed to overthrow Biden’s “regime” and make the charges against him a “misdemeanor from Hell” against the President, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Attorney General Merrick Garland, who signed the statement. his prosecution.

“I’ll never back down. This time they picked the wrong people,” said Bannon, launching an effective political campaign that will come with what could be a long, even legal battle. could prolong the committee’s life if Republicans take control of the House in November and shut down the investigation.

The January 6 committee is expected to discuss how to deal with Meadows in its Tuesday meeting
Now, the question is whether Bannon’s court date this week to arrange will erase some of his guts, and convince other former Trump officials not to risk the law and agreed to testify. Or will his opening a new Trumpian cause convince the former President’s other subpoenaed allies – like former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows – to stand up to questionable claims of executive privilege? And whether Bannon’s path in the sand, which runs parallel to Trump’s emerging political comeback and 2024 White House bid, can set the standard by which anyone wants to stay in the former’s orbit. Must the president be fit despite personal legal risk?

Sources told CNN the committee will review Meadows’ case on Tuesday, although a consensus has yet to be reached on whether he faces criminal contempt for the National’s quote. association like the Justice Department’s action against Bannon.

The committee wants to speak to Bannon about his alleged role in a The “war room” in the Willard . hotel in Washington, D.C., where he allegedly pushed the Trump campaign to steal the election from Biden, and about preparing for the January 6 rally that turned into a riot. Bannon claims his consultations with Trump are warranted by executive privilege. However, the concept of allowing presidents to receive confidential advice from advisers seemed a bit tense in this case because Bannon was not a serving White House official at the time and left the government. government in 2017.

Bannon’s choice of language wasn’t wrong. His use of the word “regime” to describe the Biden government is another example of the dictatorship that former presidents hope will return to power. Of course, Biden was democratically elected and his victory reflects the will of 81 million voters, who reject the idea of ​​a Trump second term. If any operation acts like a “regime” – a word commonly associated with autocratic militaries and illegitimate governments that take power by force – it’s Trump’s. He ended up inciting a Capitol uprising by his own mob on January 6.

The price of holding the world Trump into account

Bannon’s media history on Monday, aimed at Trump supporters and cult of his controversial podcast, surrounding lies about the 2020 election, also highlights another difficulty in the campaign. retaining the former President or his wider circle. When one side is trying to uphold the rule of law using conventional methods and the other is creating as much chaos as possible, the accountability tools themselves become fuzzy.

In many ways, the unchecked behavior of Trump and his allies has left those who want to protect democracy from his transgressions with no choice but to pull the institutional levers of the law. law and justice. But such action comes with a heavy price when Trump and Bannon – whose methods revolve around tearing down facts and institutions and seeing where the breakdown is – are involved.

List of candidates who received subpoenas from the House selection committee January 6
For example, Trump’s two impeachments did not lead to convicted of abusing power to try to get Ukraine interfere in the election or the coup he instigated in an attempt to stay in the office. His ironclad rule with GOP senators proved that he was acquitted in both cases. But those impeachments have deepened political divisions and fueled anger that his appeal to his establishment has grown. The two historic battles between Congress and Trump also politicized government and democracy to the point that they lost the trust of millions of Trump supporters. As a result, traditional methods of holding presidents that are not suitable for accountability may not work effectively in the future.

When there is a force as powerful as Trump, who cares little for the rule of law or the shame of history with a double impeachment, the latitude of consequences for off-limits political acts is limitless. Perhaps, in the end, Bannon will pay the price for challenging the House selection committee with jail time. But the political rewards for him may outweigh such sanctions and discomfort. And if his sacrifice is followed by Trump’s reinstatement, Bannon can expect a pardon matching the level Trump granted him in a fraud case.

His legal battle could bring him months of media attention far beyond his usual role on the conservative wave, where he has increasingly become an influential voice. influence within Trump’s parties.

Lawsuits can be a long and winding road, subject to delays, multiple filings and appeals, and complex debates over the question of executive privilege. There may also be a few wild card moments.

The judge appointed, Carl Nichols, is a Trump appointee who has a history of defending the Bush administration in congressional subpoena disputes, CNN’s Evan Perez reported. But judges also often worry about their courtrooms being turned into circuses. A judge in the Stone case that arose out of Mueller’s investigation, for example, imposed a gag order when a veteran confidant of Richard Nixon from the Trump era turned spy tried to turn it into a spy. political media scene.

Team Trump feels they’re ‘above the law’

The possibility that Bannon will use his indictment as another political platform, after years of claims the organization has a deep state conspiracy to destroy Trump’s populist rule , always obvious. But one of the committee’s most prominent members, Representative Adam Schiff, who led Democrats in the first impeachment trial in the Senate, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday that he believed that the Bannon indictment was valid.

“Even before the Justice Department acted, it affected other witnesses who weren’t Steve Bannon. And now witnesses see that if they don’t cooperate, if they don’t fulfill their duty, their legitimacy when subpoenaed, they could also be prosecuted, which would have a very strong centralizing effect on their decision-making.”

But Schiff also acknowledged that there is a risk that witnesses calling themselves martyrs in the former President’s “Make America Great Again” crowd may have inspired Bannon’s defiance.

Trump is in full attack mode as Biden celebrates victory putting him in hiding

“Honestly, I’m concerned about what represents, essentially the Republican Party, at the highest level, that is Donald Trump and the people around him, who seem to feel that they are above the law. and freedom get in the way of it,” he said.

“Bannon did what he did because in four years, that’s what worked. They could hold the Republican conventions on the White House grounds. They could fire the inspector generals, they can retaliate against whistleblowers. It’s basically a lawless president and they’re proud of it.”

To date, the House Selection Committee has issued 35 subpoenas to individuals and organizations seeking testimony and documents. Trump is currently appealing a federal court ruling defeated its efforts to assert executive privileges over call logs, White House visitor logs, memos, and other documents. Committee members argued that the law and precedent meant that the final say on privileged matters lay not with the former president but with the present. Biden has said that the events of January 6 were so horrific that Congress’s obligation to investigate outweighs any danger former Presidents may face in the future.

The committee’s further action on Meadows will be carefully watched. Despite being a staunch Trump loyalist, the former North Carolina congressman is no more partisan flamethrower than Bannon. But as a White House official serving at the time of the uprising, he may have a stronger case of executive privilege than the celebrity podcaster. Sources told CNN’s Ryan Nobles and Annie Grayer on Monday that the committee has yet to come to a consensus on how to counter the former White House chief of staff.

Although Meadows did not appear required to appear before the committee on Friday, he was present during a Fox Business Network interview on Monday with host Larry Kudlow, a former Trump White House official, about the events on January 6.

“I can tell you, you and I both know that nobody in the West Wing knew that anything like what happened on January 6 was going to happen,” Meadows said.

Having made such a comment on FBN before, but Meadows so far has not wanted to repeat it with oath before the selection committee. It was that contradiction and defiance that prompted the panel’s duel with Bannon and could soon land the former chief of staff in similar trouble.

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