Steve Bannon, once a strategist Donald Trump The House began discussions with a select committee on Jan. 6 about the former president’s efforts to invalidate his 2020 election defeat, testifying to an inquiry into the Capitol attack.
Move through Pannon It gives the select committee a key opportunity to gain insight into the inner workings of Trump’s illegal push to withhold Joe Biden’s certificate of victory, a final gambit just days before he goes on trial for contempt of Congress.
Bannon first signaled the select committee in an email Retrieved from GuardianTrump said in a letter that he was willing to begin discussions about a time and place for an interview, and that he would waive executive privilege if he could reach an agreement to testify.
At the time, the email widely emphasized Bannon’s legal defense that he was unable to comply with the committee’s subpoena because the former president had asserted executive privilege over his testimony, in a contentious claim.
But if Bannon and the select committee can reach an agreement, the email said Bannon is in a position to begin negotiations on a possible interview, as Trump is now willing to waive executive privilege. Citing the letter From the former president.
The email specifically said it was Bannon’s choice to testify at the public hearing, but it is understood that Bannon would consider a closed-door, transcribed interview and that he wants to comply with document requests in his subpoena last year.
The executive privilege arguments advanced by Bannon and his lawyers are questionable because at least some of what the select committee sought in his subpoena was unrelated to Trump and therefore not under protection.
While Bannon pointed to a letter from Trump lawyer Justin Clarke as evidence that the former president asserted executive authority, Clarke’s follow-up email showed Trump’s legal team. Obviously didn’t think so Bannon had “immunity” from investigation.
Bannon’s attorney, Robert Costello, said in an interview with the FBI and the US Attorney’s Office for Washington, DC, that he believed ten of the 17 items requested in the subpoena were subject to executive order and left out seven that were not.
The remaining seven items Costello identified as not protected included discussions that he said were protected by attorney-client privilege — although because non-lawyers participated, that privilege would have been “breached” by material in the public domain, including podcasts.
Because Costello forced Bannon to produce both privileged and non-privileged material, Bannon should have at least produced the non-privileged material instead of ignoring his subpoena entirely.
Still, Bannon argued that executive privilege was at the heart of his original subpoena inconsistency, saying he didn’t have to be a White House employee — which he wasn’t as of Jan. 6 — to be a “close presidential adviser” subject to the executive. Offer.
Although the DC Circuit Court has held that the current president’s waiver of executive privilege preempts the former president’s claim, he also argued that Biden never formally waived Trump’s claim. In fact, the Select Committee doesn’t believe Trump insisted on it in the first place.
Speaking on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, Jan. 6 committee member and Congresswoman Jo Lofgren said she expected the committee to schedule an interview with Bannon.
“I expect we’ll hear from him,” Lofgren said. “And he has so many questions.”
The extent or scope of Bannon’s potential testimony on Sunday is unclear, though he was a witness to several key moments in the Jan. 6 illegal effort to block Biden’s certificate of victory.
That means Bannon could in theory reveal to House investigators about his conversations with Trump before the Capitol attack — Bannon spoke with Trump on the phone the night before — and Trump holds strategic discussions in “war room.” at the Willard Hotel in Washington.
Trump at Willard was instrumental in the former president’s push to end “war room” certification. Bannon, widely seen as the architects of the plan, was there in the days leading up to the attack, along with Trump lawyers John Eastman and Rudy Giuliani.
Bannon’s offer to testify appears to be a strategic move ahead of his trial for criminal contempt of Congress, which is scheduled to begin on July 18. Department of Justice Prosecutors accused him of refusing to comply with the Select Committee’s subpoena last year.
The act of testifying now to the panel won’t “cure” his contempt because he faces criminal contempt and has been prosecuted for failing to comply with subpoenas in the past, according to former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance.
But an email to testify can have the effect of an offer Strengthens his legal protection Trump actually asserted a legitimate executive privilege claim in October 2021, and said in a letter on Saturday that he could not be sued because of that invocation.
The prospect of testifying — and a real deal that he would appear before a select committee — could also undermine the prosecution to some extent, making it a less attractive case to the judiciary and less attractive to jurors in general.
Despite what Trump now says in his letter, in nominating Bannon for prosecution, the commission said Trump did not assert executive privilege — and even if he did, it did not cover Bannon’s time outside the Trump White House. By January 6.
The select committee also said Bannon would have to respond to the subpoena in some way, for example by citing the executive order on a question-by-question basis, at least by answering questions that have nothing to do with Trump.
Bannon became one of two former Trump advisers charged by the Justice Department with contempt of Congress. Federal prosecutors He also accused Peter Navarro But former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Vice President Dan Scavino declined to prosecute.