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Saturday, January 28, 2023

Steve Bannon tries to torpedo his trial

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Steve Bannon arrives at the courthouse in Washington this Tuesday.SHAWN THEW (EFE)

Steve Bannon likes to live on the edge. But this time he crossed them. The frontier was the trial that began Monday in E. Barrett Prettyman’s federal courthouse in Washington. Donald Trump’s former adviser and Pygmalion helped inflame the spokeswoman for America’s far right with a successful podcast war room, He faces two felonies of contempt for 10 months ago refusing to testify before the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol.

At the last minute, he announced a few weeks ago that he’d changed his mind because Donald Trump had finally given him permission, and said he was ready to appear before the nine members of the House of Representatives who are scheduled to celebrate their celebration Eighth session this Thursday (and last for now), prime time, and all indications are that without the presence of their president, Mississippi Democrat Bennie Thompson, who has tested positive for coronavirus. But it was too late. This time the trick (postponing the trial to October) didn’t work for the great populist conjurer. The trial has been launched, but Bannon and his lawyers appear determined for now to prevent a trial that could result in a prison sentence of between two months and a year.

He selected the jury on Monday, a delicate matter in this case. The defense used the first of their tactics there to torpedo the process. 60 citizens were summoned; and the thing was at 22 at the end of the day. It was left over for the next day to reduce the payroll to 12. The defense sought to expel anyone who followed the January 6 commission meetings, as Washington is a city torn by politics and its residents follow passionately those who elsewhere have devoted themselves to sports or popular music hardly finds anyone Virgo on the results of the parliamentary inquiry. They were also asked if they think this commission is a body guided by partisanship. Again, the answer is tricky: if seven of its members are Democrats compared to just two Republicans, it’s because the Conservative Party tried to boycott the formation of a commission when an investigation into these events inside the Capitol was required .

On Tuesday, lawyers for the man who had pulled the strings of the Trump administration for the first six months tried to put new obstacles in the judge’s way by challenging the letters Bannon and Thompson exchanged as the subpoena for this conversation about what happened on January 5th at the Willard, a fancy hotel two blocks from the White House. The commission is processing phone records that indicate Bannon spoke to the still president at least twice on the phone the day before the attack. After the first of the two conversations, Bannon said, “Tomorrow all hell will break loose” in reference to what could happen (and did happen) on January 6th. Thompson and his people are therefore interested to know if they were planning a riot that day at the Willard that left more than 140 officers injured while Trump watched it all on TV in the Oval Office without doing anything to stop his followers.

Members of the 1776 Restoration movement demonstrate outside the courthouse where Steve Bannon will be tried on Monday.
Members of the 1776 Restoration movement demonstrate outside the courthouse where Steve Bannon will be tried on Monday.Stefanie Reynolds (AFP)

Bannon walked into court both days, visibly relaxed and appearing to be constantly laughing to himself. He waved to the swarm of journalists waiting for him. Also waiting were members of the 1776 Restoration movement, a newly formed small group toying with the date of the Declaration of Independence, defining themselves as “patriots” and wanting to reclaim the “constitutional republic and return to a moral society.” On Tuesday, the populist ideologue with a respectable specimen financial times under his arm, which isn’t among the informative sources he usually draws on in his podcast, war room (War Room), whose broadcasts were not interrupted with the arrival of the trial. But on the contrary. In his show, he has been inviting his followers for days to watch the documentary that CNN broadcast on Sunday Separately we fall (Divided We Fall), an exploration of Bannon’s role “in shaping and dividing the American political system and the potential threat to American democracy”. It’s hard to say that the film’s protagonist is particularly popular, but Bannon, like Salvador Dalí, is one of those people who believe it’s better to be badmouthed than not at all. The emission of war room on Tuesday specifically described the trial as “a show trial.”

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It’s not the first time Bannon has defined its outstanding accounts with justice. Last week, he vowed that it would be a “medieval trial” and that disobeying Congress’ charges against him would become “an offense from hell for Merrick Garland.” [fiscal general]Nancy Pelosi [presidenta de la Cámara de Representantes] and to [el presidente] Joe Biden.” Federal District Judge Carl J. Nichols, who has jurisdiction over the case, is unwilling to let that happen and has promised things will move faster than the defense intends. Attorney David Schoen has sued. Nichols, who is Trump-appointed seems inclined to convict Bannon, who has been pardoned by the 45th President. in extreme cases on conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering charges in a Manhattan court in connection with a border wall donation program with Mexico.

Last week, a transcript obtained and published by the leftist magazine had to be added to the pile of conspiracy evidence piling up against the former adviser. mother jones, registered on October 31, 2020, days before the elections. In it, Bannon is heard saying that Trump will “declare victory” without waiting for the result. “He will do it. But that doesn’t mean he’s the winner,” Bannon added to a group of people. “He’ll just say he won.”

Despite such evidence, if the Washington judge found him guilty of contempt and sentenced him, paradoxically, that doesn’t mean he has to testify before the committee.

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