45 thoughts on “What a lovely headline to see!

    1. I don’t think so. This is contempt of congress and indictment by the justice department. Either he shows up or he goes to jail. Trump currently refusing to comply with documents is on hold during an appeal but that one may end by the end of this month with congress getting the documents.

    2. Probably. Hell, it will probably take a while just to get him to trial. But he has NO plausible defense, and will almost certainly be convicted (and the conviction, affirmed on appeal). And, if convicted after trial, I think he’ll do a full year in stir.

      On the other hand, it wouldn’t shock me to see Bannon decide it’s not worth the time, and the expense, and the exposure to play the string out only to end up doing a year’s downtime — and, accordingly, that he may fold his cards and agree to testify before congress.

      Bannon is nothing if not an opportunist. Donald Trump is in no position to help him now, nor is he ever likely to be in a position to do so again.

      Just before leaving the presidency, Trump pardoned Bannon for ripping off Trump’s most loyal, small-dollar donors with his bogus build-the-wall scam (from which Bannon personally profited to the tune of seven figures). If there’s one thing Trump and Bannon agree on, it’s the old P.T. Barnum dictum that there’s a sucker born every minute.

  1. It will be appealed way past the midterms at which point he could be let off by a GOP dominated House. I’m not going to celebrate until he’s safely behind bars.

    1. The case is now before the courts, and being prosecuted by Merrick Garland’s Justice Department. I don’t think a 2022 change in House leadership can get Bannon off the hook. At this point, It’s out of the House’s hands. Even if the House were now to withdraw the subpoena, Bannon’s act of criminal contempt is choate (to employ a term you don’t hear much in the affirmative).

      1. “…. choate (to employ a term you don’t hear much in the affirmative).”

        You might even be tempted to write ‘non-inchoate’ !
        Double negatives can be useful occasionally. But maybe lawyers are more subtle than mere logicians.

        Hopefully jail time (not merely a fine which the dumbass, easily conned, Republican voters will quickly pay) is hugely negative for that dangerous jerk—and the lesson is quickly learned for the rest of conman Drumpf’s conboy suckups.

      2. If the GOP wins the House in 2022 and dissolves the congressional task force (?), wouldn’t that mostly let Bannon off the hook? He’d still be guilty of not appearing and supplying documents but could no longer resolve it by complying. Wouldn’t that likely cause the DOJ to drop the case?

          1. Right but Garland seems likely to want to avoid even the appearance of political revenge. If the practical goal of seeking facts goes away, that’s all that would be left, making it easy for the GOP to spin it that way and make a case for the politicization of the DOJ.

        1. No, Paul. If the congressional committee were disbanded tomorrow it would not change things. Bannon is charged with not complying with a subpoena. The only thing in question is whether he did or did not comply. This matter is no longer in the hands of Congress. If he complied on Monday it would still leave him subject to this trial. You’re confusing civil contempt (which he is not charged with) and criminal contempt (which he is).

  2. Let the games begin. Bannon is simply the first. No more pardons for this crook. Either you talk or go to jail. Bannon probably figures this will be good for his ratings. Maybe they will let him do his pod cast from the crowbar hotel.

  3. Forget criminal contempt; Congress should use its inherent power to arrest and detain Bannon. In an action by the Senate which the Supreme Court upheld in 1927 against a former Attorney General, the Senate passed this resolution:

    Resolved, that the president of the Senate pro tempore issue his warrant commanding the sergeant at arms or his deputy to take into custody the body of the said M. S. Daugherty wherever found, and to bring the said M. S. Daugherty before the bar of the Senate, then and there to answer such questions pertinent to the matter under inquiry as the Senate may order the President of the Senate pro tempore to propound, and to keep the said M. S. Daugherty in custody to await the further order of the Senate.

    Mr. Daugherty was taken into custody in accord with that warrant, and the Supreme Court upheld the validity of this action.

    Let Bannon try his luck getting a better result than Daugherty did. In the meantime, he will be where he belongs.

    1. On a billionaire’s and/or oligarch’s yacht? Schmoozing with Putin? Some other place where there’s no extradition treaty with US? Just thinkin’ out loud.

    2. Yes, congress needs some means for dealing with recalcitrant witnesses analogous to the courts’ power to hold a witness in civil contempt — otherwise congress’s subpoena power is naught but a paper tiger.

      In the court system, a witness gets one chance before a judge to comply with an order to testify — then it’s off to the hoosegow (with the keys in the witness’s own pocket, as the saying goes) unless or until the witness testifies (or until the grand jury’s term expires, or, in the case of a petit jury, until the trial is over).

      And, in the court system, a civil contempt citation does not preclude a subsequent prosecution for criminal contempt for the same contumacious act (the Double Jeopardy Clause being inapplicable where one remedy is civil, the other criminal).

      1. Elie Mystal, writing in The Nation, suggested that Congress has the power to enforce a subpoena and cites the 1927 case mentioned directly above. I wonder, then, why they did not send the Sergeant-at-Arms or the U.S. marshals to arrest Bannon. Had they done so, writes Mystal, at least Bannon would be in jail while he was appealing. Is Mystal’s reading wrong?

        1. Mystal is, no doubt, referring to Civil Contempt, where the perpetrator is held until they comply. Bannon’s case is of Criminal Contempt which aims to punish the him for his failure to comply. In Civil Contempt, Bannon could get out of jail by either testifying or by waiting for the committee to dissolve at the end of the session. I think the point of going with Criminal Contempt is to put other actors (Mark Meadows, etc.) on notice that this fate awaits them if they also refuse to testify.

        2. Some have suggested that Congress could have made it easier on the DOJ by narrowing the scope of the subpoena to information to which executive privilege wouldn’t apply. Perhaps the committee thought it unnecessary or worried that it would get in the way of Bannon’s testimony. My guess is that Bannon never offers any real testimony so I’ll settle for him being punished.

          1. Bannon has no plausible claim to executive privilege as to testimony regarding the events surrounding the January 6, 2021, insurrection since he had not been employed by the executive branch of the federal government since his firing from the White House by then-Chief of Staff John Kelly in the summer of 2017.

        3. Bannon could have avoided being in contempt of congress merely by showing up in response to the subpoena and asserting his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination — though, plainly, he did not want to go that route.

          Pleading the Fifth would not have protected him from producing documents; the self-incrimination privilege attaches only to testimony, not records.

          Also, had Bannon taken Five, the Jan. 6th committee could have nonetheless vitiated his self-incrimination privilege, and compelled him to testify, by giving him a grant of use and derivative-use immunity. (Such use-immunity would not shield him from a prosecution for perjury had he sworn to a material falsehood before the committee during his testimony.)

          1. I understand, thanks! But I still do not know why the committee sought the tedious criminal prosecution when they presumably could have arrested him, as any judge would have. Additionally, if he can make the case drag on and the Gop takes the Presidential election (if not the off-year election), then the prosecution could be terminated. If they are hoping to frighten other witnesses, it has not worked on Meadows. I wish the Congress would assert its authority.

  4. In the late 1940s, J. Parnell Thomas of New Jersey, Chairman of the House Un-American Activities Committee, got lots of publicity by investigating the diabolical Communists in Hollywood. In 1950, he was convicted of an absurdly penny-ante fraud racket: he had appointed a couple of cronies to imaginary positions in his Congressional office and they kicked their salaries back to him. Just before beginning his prison sentence, Thomas joined the ranks of comedy immortals by announcing that he welcomed this opportunity to investigate the Federal prison system first-hand.

    The comedy was enhanced when he entered Danbury prison, in which two of his prison-mates were Lester Cole and Ring Lardner Jr., both sentenced for contempt of Congress when they had refused to answer HUAC’s questions about their politics. It is not recorded whether these two members of the Hollywood Ten and ex-Congressman Thomas ever shared a smoke in the exercise yard at Danbury. After his release, Ring Lardner Jr. got past the blacklist and wrote the script for Robert Altman’s M*A*S*H (1970). Thomas, after serving 9 months, went back into Republican politics. One wonders whether Steve Bannon looks to Ring Lardner Jr. or to ex-Congressman Thomas as a role model.

  5. Perhaps it is now water under the bridge but this article on the Lawfare blog did a good job of explaining why the DOJ took so long to indict Bannon. In short, they have to examine the arguments Bannon’s lawyers are likely to push and formulate their response to make sure they don’t conflict with earlier policies and decisions. Obviously, the DOJ has a long history to deal with and they don’t want to put themselves in a position where that history can be used to deflect their prosecutions.

    Why the Justice Department Is Taking So Long to Indict Steve Bannon

    1. I looked the article over but did not take time to read all of it. My take so far on this particular case is – three weeks is not so long. For the legal system to do anything in three weeks is considered blazing fast. The DOJ has to do this and the faster the better. After 4 years of playing Trumps attorney they must re-invent the rule of law. There was none for 4 years. They also had to do this because otherwise the congress means nothing and just as well go home now and turn things over to Trump. Where does the congressional committee end up. I mean at the very end. I don’t know. It they can show the way to the DOJ to finish the job and do it before the next election that is what is needed. I have no idea if it will happen but if not, I think we can kiss it goodbye.

  6. I’m not holding my breath. Instead keeping it for the primal scream. tfg was allowed to write pardons in advance for any crimes revealed in the future; even after tfg left office. If tfg did, I’m sure the list is pretty lengthy and includes Ivanka and Jared.

  7. Bannon indicted. So what? Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has been under indictment for SIX years and is also under investigation by the FBI for bribery and abuse of power (retaliating against whistleblowers). He got re-elected while under indictment! Bannon is subject to a different legal system than the rest of us little people. He can tug the beard of the prince for as long as he likes with impunity.

    1. So, you’re suggesting that America’s Democracy is already done? There are signs that the damage is beyond repair. Can the technology that brought back Steve Austin bring back the American Experiment? Technology has for many generations been the salve that cures all ills. So I give this:

      (Oscar Goldman) “Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world’s first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better — stronger — faster.”

      Technology and science are still our best friends in regards to survival. Just waiting for a rise to the occasion from the “professionals”. I need to hear the metaphorical sounds of handcuffs on this Trump crony and Trump is the one who really needs to go if this American experiment is to go on in any semblance of a “nation under laws.” For too many millions in this country, it’s a nation under a lying, desperate, dangerous joke…I mean Lie…at least for now. (A little hope?_) dunno

      1. As I understand it Bannon has been indicted for a misdemeanor. The first issue may be that the House did not have the authority to issue a subpoena since the committee may have not been constituted in a manner that was not according to the house rules. If so that issue alone will delay the trial months if not years. Then there is the problem of finding a jury without a Trump supporter on it. Otherwise the case may end in a hung jury. Even if convicted the most he is likely to get is probation with a condition that he appear before Congress and testify. But then he will plead the 5 th amendment. The process to grant him some sort of immunity would take place. If he testifies, I would not believe a word he says. He could be charged with perjury etc etc etc. I don’t know anything about the old precedents cited by other posters. Perhaps they will work. But this will all drag on for months if not years and then if a GOP candidate wins in 2024 which at this point appears likely everyone will be pardoned anyway including those that assaulted the capitol. In short the system may be broken beyond repair. I hope I am wrong.

        1. At this point the House is out of the picture. This case is now entirely out of Congressional control and in the hands of the Executive. I think it is very unlikely that the case will take years to resolve.

          1. I suspect you are wrong here. If Bannon can prove that the congressional task force (or whatever they’re calling it) has no authority to issue subpoenas then it would be reason to quash it. Seems really unlikely though.

            Similarly, if the GOP wins the House in 2024, they will almost certainly dissolve the task force immediately. That would also seem to mostly let Bannon (and whoever else shares his situation) off the hook as there would be no one left to testify in front of or provide documents to. Whether he would still have some jeopardy is an issue above my pay grade. My guess is it would be dropped.

            1. It is a Congressional committee. Congress has been issuing subpoenas since 1795. This argument makes as much sense as saying “If Bannon can prove that Congress can’t make laws then…”.

              1. There are limits on what a congressional committee can seek. Executive privilege is one such limit but there are likely others that can be argued. As the Lawfare article I linked explains, there are all kinds of precedents that the DOJ has to deal with in pursuing Bannon. This is why it took three weeks to indict Bannon. I’m not saying they’ll help Bannon but that the question isn’t as moot as you seem to suggest.

            2. Care to lay some money on that?

              You suspect I’m wrong, so that must mean you are >50% sure that the court will find that Congress lacks authority to subpoena a person who was not even a government official at the time to testify before a lawfully established committee.

              1. No, of course I don’t mean that. I’m saying that Bannon could make such an argument an element of his defense and it wouldn’t be ignored by the court, not that it would be successful.

              2. He could argue that pigs live in trees, too. What he “can argue” is infinite in breadth. What matters is what arguments are legitimate. Arguing that Congress, “(or whatever they’re calling it)”, has no ability to issue subpoenas, which is what you suggested, ain’t gonna make much of a legal impression.

              3. As I said, the court will listen to such arguments. I predict they will find them unpersuasive but they won’t be immediately thrown out as irrelevant, unlike your “pigs in trees” argument. And, by the way, I never said Congress has no ability to issue subpoenas just that Bannon can argue that this particular group’s subpoena is invalid IN THIS CASE. Please stop with the straw men.

              4. The “pigs” and the “no authority” cases are similarly inane. Saying that Bannon can argue it really says nothing. But I appreciated how you walked back your suspicion that I was wrong and that you’ve stopped referring to a congressional committee as a “task force”.

              5. You’re reading things that aren’t there. I haven’t walked back anything. You continue to argue what you would prefer to be true over what is actually true and thereby mislead yourself. You offered your “bet” based on a misreading of what I wrote and have doubled-down on it ever since. Have a good day, sir.

  8. I tend to read rather than watch the news because when I watch it, I turn into a righteous ranting know it all. I get angry, sometimes viciously so, wishing bad outcomes on folks I think are bad actors because they see the world differently than I do and they have the power to try to implement their visions. Or they are helping powerful people implement a vision with which I totally disagree. When the adrenalin from these sessions dissipates, I look at the righteous ranter I was and I don’t much like that self. But it was sure fun for that few minutes when I knew everything and could wish those bad actors a swift voyage to the gates of Hades.

    1. Me too, and I don’t even live in USA. I’d like to think: ‘they made their bed so now they can sleep in it’—but don’t really mean that for the 10s of millions of decent people, and even the horribly miseducated Drumpf fans, there.

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