Former Donald Trump campaign manager in 2016 and gray eminence of the tenant of the White House during the first months of his mandate, Steve Bannon appeared on Monday July 18 in federal court in Washington. He will be judged there for “obstructing the investigative powers of Congress”, after refusing to testify before the House Committee on the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol assault. He pleaded not guilty. The trial, which is expected to last about a week, began with the composition of the jury.
This simple procedure has already given rise to a skirmish between Mr. Bannon’s lawyers and the Court, explains the correspondent of the Guardian in Washington, Hugo Lowell. The former have indeed “sought to delay the trial on the grounds that jurors might be swayed by the commission of inquiry hearings”, which are held at this very moment, not far from the court, precisely in the precincts of the Capitol attacked on January 6th. Judge Carl Nichols, however appointed by Trump, considered that “mere knowledge of these hearings was not a sufficient reason to be excluded” of the jury, nor to delay the trial.
Escape justice and afford a platform
In October 2021, the commission had issued Mr. Bannon with a subpoena to testify and deliver documents, including about his activities at the Willard Hotel the night before the riot. It had been established, says the Washington Post than the one who today hosts a far-right podcast, The War Room, had spoken with Donald Trump by telephone, the morning and evening of January 5, after he predicted on his show that “hell was about to break loose”. He therefore had, according to the commission, “some foreknowledge of the extreme events that were to occur the next day”.
To justify his refusal to appear before the commission, the former adviser had claimed the “privilege of the executive”, allegedly conferred on him by his former employer. An argument swept aside as much by parliamentarians as by Judge Nichols, since in January 2021, Mr. Bannon “left the White House in 2017 and was just a private citizen at the time”, insists the daily. All in his desire to escape justice, and especially to afford a political platform, Steve Bannon “also offered, just over a week before the start of the trial, to testify before the commission. Without however providing him with the requested documents”, says Ryan Lucas, the journalist specializing in justice for the public radio channel. NPR. Fortunately, federal prosecutors opposed the request, which was far too late, deeming it “irrelevant” to the charges already made.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.