Steve Bannon is about to go through some things. The House Select Committee investigating the January 6 invasion of the Capitol is going balls to the wall, and soon we'll find out of the Justice Department is going to step up to the plate.

As expected, Bannon defied the subpoena and failed to show up to testify on October 14. His lawyer Robert Costello, of Michael Cohen pardon dangle fame, sent the Committee a letter claiming that his client's hands were tied because the former president had invoked executive privilege.

This is errant nonsense, of course. There's absolutely no privilege over Bannon's communications with Trump, since he got fired from the White House in 2017. And anyway, Bannon's role in organizing the events of that horrible day went far beyond his communications with the White House, so even if this were a real, good faith assertion of executive privilege — and it most assuredly is not — he'd still have to show up and answer questions about his contacts with the Stop the Steal people.


After Bannon gave two big middle fingers to the Committee, Chair Bennie Thompson scheduled a vote to hold Ol' Three Shirts in contempt last night. Costello sent a letter requesting that the vote be delayed for a week in light of Trump's ridiculous lawsuit seeking to get a federal judge to block the National Archivist from complying with subpoenas from the Committee, "so that we might thoughtfully assess the impact of this pending litigation."

Chair Thompson told him to get bent, noting, "that litigation relates to the Select Committee's request for documents in the possession of the National Archives and is immaterial to the Select Committee's demand for documents and testimony from Mister Bannon." In other words, fuck you and your bad faith delay tactics.

Chair Thompson then published both letters, along with one from the White House reminding Bannon that there could not possibly be any privilege over his post-2017 communications, and to the extent that anyone was making a privilege claim, Joe Biden, the actual, sitting, IRL president had waived it.

Last night the Committee voted unanimously to advance a vote to the full Congress to hold Bannon in contempt and refer the matter to the DOJ for criminal prosecution.

As Rep. Liz Cheney said before the vote, "Mr. Bannon's and Mr. Trump's privilege arguments do appear to reveal one thing, however. They suggest that President Trump was personally involved in the planning and execution of January 6th. And we will get to the bottom of that."

She also noted that Bannon was palling around with the organizers of the events, so let's assume that all the people in this picture are going to go through some things.

And not for nothing, but as the referral resolution notes, Bannon wasn't exactly circumspect. Here's a quote from his January 5 podcast:

It's not going to happen like you think it's going to happen. OK, it's going to be quite extraordinarily different. All I can say is, strap in. [...] You made this happen and tomorrow it's game day. So strap in. Let's get ready. All hell is going to break loose tomorrow. [...] So many people said, 'Man, if I was in a revolution, I would be in Washington.' Well, this is your time in history.

Subtle.

The full House vote will take place tomorrow, which is basically light speed in congressional time. Apparently the Republicans are going to vote against it because LOL nothing matters anymore. But Bannon has backed both himself and the Committee into an impossible corner, because if he can get away with blowing off a congressional subpoena, then literally anyone on earth can. Mark Meadows and Dan Scavino, who were employed in the White House on January 6, can at least make colorable claims of executive privilege covering their communications with Trump. But Bannon's assertion is such a transparently bullshit bad faith "fuck you" that the Committee has no choice but to put the pedal to the floor and gun it.

So now they're about to crash into the Justice Department, where Attorney General Merrick Garland is going to have to decide whether (and how fast) to prosecute Bannon for contempt of Congress. And Joe Biden's free-styling about his wish to see people who blow off the Committee prosecuted was not helpful. Because, while the Committee's decision to go after Bannon was an easy one, Garland's is really not. Because, as Politico notes, a successful contempt prosecution will require the government to prove that Bannon knew he was breaking the law, and he's got that nifty letter from his lawyer saying that he isn't. So he'll claim that he was relying on advice of counsel, not deliberately throwing sand in the gears of the investigation, and he might well get away with it.

Which is probably not reassuring to those of us still clinging to the hope that we live in a country with a functioning justice system. But if you want certainty, head on over to the Gateway Pundit or the Epoch Times, where it is always just 10 minutes 'til LOCK HER UP. Over here, we're going to have to make do with reality.

It sucks, man!

[NBC / Politico]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.

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