The Washington Post reports, Judge rejects Bannon’s bid to toss contempt charges:
A federal judge on Wednesday denied [insurrectionist Coup Plotter] Stephen K. Bannon’s motion to dismiss the criminal contempt case against him, saying he would allow a July 18 trial to go forward as scheduled.
Bannon, 67, was charged in November with two counts of contempt of Congress after refusing to comply with a subpoena issued a few months earlier by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The former chief strategist to President Donald Trump had asked U.S. District Carl J. Nichols to toss out the charges, arguing that he relied on the Justice Department’s long-standing advice about congressional subpoenas to White House aides and was not committing a crime when he failed to produce documents or appear before the committee.
Reminder: In August 2017, Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon fired. He was not a White House aid for over 3 years before the events leading up to January 6. This was a frivolous claim without merit.
But at a three-hour court hearing Wednesday, Judge Nichols, a 2019 Trump appointee, repeatedly challenged his claims and ultimately decided in the Justice Department’s favor.
The decision was a critical victory for the prosecution that Attorney General Merrick Garland said was brought to “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.” It also provided a moral victory to the House committee, even though a conviction would not force Bannon to cooperate.
The judge questioned in particular whether Bannon — who was not in the White House for the events leading up to Jan. 6 — was covered by the opinions of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, which has asserted that, if the president invokes executive privilege, his senior aides cannot be made to testify. Nichols also rejected Bannon’s claim that the composition of the House investigative committee rendered it illegitimate.
Donald Trump’s Outrageous Reading of Executive Privilege Can’t Save Steve Bannon: “Steve Bannon believes that he can defy a congressional subpoena because Donald Trump told him so. That, at least, is what Bannon’s lawyer Robert Costello told the House select committee investigating the events of January 6th, in a letter saying that Trump had instructed Bannon and others not to testify, citing a vague claim of executive privilege. The committee, understandably, disagrees.”
Then in January 2022, Trump Loses Big on Executive Privilege: “The Supreme Court denied a motion by former President Trump to block the National Archive from turning White House materials to the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack. The peculiar, four-page order, is a complicated document, but in combination with the broad and underdiscussed D.C. Circuit opinion it leaves in place, it has profound implications for Trump’s ability, and that of his allies, to make executive privilege claims in response to demands for testimony and information from the committee.” “The new legal landscape, for example, almost certainly means that two top Trump officials—former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadow and former top adviser Steve Bannon—can no longer argue that the privilege prevents them from cooperating with the committee. The same applies to other potential witnesses, and to the former president himself, should the committee seek his testimony.” This claim had already been decided and was without merit.
Bannon is one of two former Trump associates the Justice Department is prosecuting for refusing to comply with subpoenas from the Jan. 6 committee. Earlier this month, Trump’s White House trade adviser Peter Navarro was indicted on the same contempt charges that Bannon faces. But the Justice Department at the same time revealed it would not prosecute two other high-ranking Trump aides who the committee had referred for contempt — former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and communications chief Daniel Scavino Jr. [who were in the White House for the events leading up to Jan. 6.]
The misdemeanor contempt charges against each carry a maximum sentence of one year in jail.
Bannon, who has pleaded not guilty, argued that he refused to respond to a Sept. 23 subpoena by the committee in-part on the advice of his counsel, Robert J. Costello, who said that Trump asserted executive privilege over appearances by his former aides. But Judge Nichols said it was a “disputed fact” whether Trump categorically invoked executive privilege or “unequivocally directed” Bannon not to comply with the committee.
Though he rejected Bannon’s bid to throw out the case, Nichols said he would decide later whether Bannon could raise the Justice Department opinions as a defense in his trial.
David Schoen, Bannon’s defense attorney, said Bannon would seek to delay his trial, alleging that the House committee’s ongoing hearings and lawmakers’ statements are tainting the pool of potential jurors [not an easy claim to make.]
Bannon’s whole strategy is to delay as long as possible and run out the clock, hoping for a Republican Congress of insurrectionist co-conspirators next year who will disband the January 6 Committee and let this insurrectionist Coup Plotter off the hook so he can plan the next coup d’etat – something he regularly incites on his podcast. Why has the DOJ not charged Bannon with sedition and insurrection for his role in the “coup command center” at the Willard Hotel on January 6, and for regulalry inciting the next coup d’etat? This would get him 20 years, and this traitor could die in prison, where he belongs.