Pour one out for Old Three Shirts! Steve Bannon surrendered to the FBI this morning in DC after being indicted Friday afternoon for contempt of Congress. If Bannon was betting on the federal government blinking first, he bet wrong.
Ever the showman, Bannon livestreamed his approach to the courthouse on Jason Miller's conservative GETTR gutter. Mad props to the guy with the "Coup Plotter" sign who managed to get himself in every single shot.
Steve Bannon turns himself in this morning and tries to plug his show while a guy stands behind him with a \u2018Coup Plotter\u2019 sign.pic.twitter.com/AaWGGsyb4j— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) 1636991073
"I don't want anybody to take their eye off the ball of what we do every day, okay?" he vamped. "We got the Hispanics coming on our side, African Americans coming on our side, we're taking down the Biden regime every day."
Apparently Bannon's eye was so fixedly attached to "the ball" that he couldn't see his way to communing with his razor. Nothing like three days worth of stubble when you've got 100 cameras trained on your face, right?
But His Decrepitude was still rambling.
"I want you guys to stay focused and on message. Remember, signal not noise. This is all noise, that's signal" he said, jerking his thumb toward the courthouse and then pointing to the camera, the apparent home of the "signal." Then he walked in the courthouse to be cuffed and fingerprinted by "noise."
Bannon was accompanied by impeachment lawyer David Schoen, who screeched incoherently last February about Maxine Waters being the real incitement, during Donald Trump's second impeachment trial. No word yet on whether his briefs in this case will cite trusted legal authorities like the Gateway Pundit, as he did in Trump's impeachment brief.
Bannon's change of representation likely signals a pivot in preparation to assert an "advice of counsel" defense. The government has to prove that he "willfully" violated a lawful subpoena when he blew off the January 6 Select Committee's demand that he testify and produce documents. His claim of executive privilege for conversations with Trump and his minions — much less his own podcast transcripts — seems nonsensical on its face, since he got fired from his White House job in 2017. Nevertheless, Bannon originally hired attorney Robert Costello, of Michael Cohen pardon dangle fame, to make the case that actually he doesn't have to comply with congressional subpoenas.
"It is therefore clear to us that since the executive privilege belongs to President Trump, and he has, through his counsel, asserted those executive privileges enumerated above, we must accept his direction and honor his invocation of executive privilege," Costello wrote to Committee Chair Bennie Thompson on October 7.
He followed it up with another nastygram on October 13, the eve of Bannon's scheduled testimony.
"Until such time as you reach an agreement with President Trump or receive a court ruling as to the extent, scope and application of the executive privilege, in order to preserve the claim of executive and other privileges, Mr. Bannon will not be producing documents or testifying," he wrote. "As noted previously, Mr. Bannon will revisit his position if President Trump's position changes or if a court rules on this matter."
Sounds like Bannon is going to argue that he reasonably relied on his original attorney's assurance that he was acting legally when gave two middle fingers to the Select Committee. And it's not a terrible argument, but it's not without risk. As former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti points out on Twitter, Bannon will have to waive attorney-client privilege as to all his communications with Costello if he wants to claim that he reasonably relied on Costello's advice to assert executive privilege.
Poppy Gin Farts would have been on much less shaky ground if he'd made a token feint toward cooperation, at least pretending to work to narrow the subpoena and present an argument that his conversations with Trump and his legal team were somehow privileged. They'd be stupid arguments, but he could at least make a non-laughable claim of having tried to comply with the Committee's demands. As it stands, Costello didn't even produce a privilege log of any documents in Bannon's possession responsive to the subpoena, citing exactly which privilege required their non-disclosure. He simply gestured vaguely in the direction of "executive and other privileges" and lectured Chairman Thompson that "your use of the word 'defiance' is inappropriate."
But no other witness has made such a complete and public show of defiance. Not even Mark Meadows, who refused to comply with the Committee's demands, but dispatched his lawyer George Terwiliger, III, to "negotiate" with the Committee for a month and then yap about it in the Washington Post's opinion pages.
Bannon will be arraigned and released back into "the signal" this afternoon. No doubt he'll be entirely circumspect about the case and won't say anything to jeopardize his legal argument during his daily podcasts.
[US v. Bannon, Docket via Court Listener]
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