Steve Bannon filed court documents last week claiming that he can't possibly get a fair trial for his Congressional contempt case because the House Select Committee has put Jan. 6 on the forefront of the public's mind.
Politico revealed that Donald Trump's lawyer Justin Clark spoke to the FBI, apparently throwing Bannon under the bus.
At the same time, Bannon claimed Donald Trump decided to "wave" executive privilege in Bannon's case. There was no executive privilege, to begin with, however. It sent political analysts assuming it was all part of another play by Bannon to evade accountability and throw the trial into chaos.
The Justice Department made their own filing Friday, prior to Bannon's stunt, which was a kind of pre-emptive strike against what they anticipate will be future arguments from Bannon's lawyers.
The former Trump campaign manager is facing two criminal contempt charges from Congress, one for testimony and another for documents requested by the committee. He's set to appear in court on Monday.
What Trump lawyer's told the FBI, however, is that Trump had nothing to do with holding Bannon back from speaking to the House Select Committee. Clark effectively threw Bannon and his lawyer under the bus, and refused to cooperate with the Justice Department in good faith.
In a civil contempt case, Bannon would essentially be put in jail until he agreed to speak. In Bannon's case, however, he is being charged with criminal contempt for refusing to testify, which will still apply whether or not he speaks to Congress and provides the documents requested in the future. So, Bannon claiming he's now willing to cooperate is irrelevant.
“The Defendant’s timing suggests that the only thing that has really changed since he refused to comply with the subpoena in October 2021 is that he is finally about to face the consequences of his decision to default,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Vaughn wrote, Politico reported. “All of the above-described circumstances suggest the Defendant’s sudden wish to testify is not a genuine effort to meet his obligations but a last-ditch attempt to avoid accountability.”
Vaughn said Clark also told DOJ “that the former President’s counsel never asked or was asked to attend the Defendant’s deposition before the Select Committee; that the Defendant’s attorney misrepresented to the Committee what the former President’s counsel had told the Defendant’s attorney; and that the former President’s counsel made clear to the Defendant’s attorney that the letter provided no basis for total noncompliance.”
“In his effort to create panic, the Defendant also mischaracterizes the information the Government provided relating to Kristin Amerling,” Vaughn wrote.
Bannon complained that one of the prosecutors involved in his case, Molly Gaston, previously worked with a staffer to the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack to overthrow Congress and the 2020 election.
“As the Government informed the Defendant on July 8, she and Ms. Gaston worked together over a decade ago and were in a book club that Ms. Gaston has not attended in almost two years," wrote Vaughn. "At no point did the Government represent that Ms. Amerling and Ms. Gaston have a close personal relationship, because they do not.”