Bannon Faces Uphill Battle To Fight Contempt Charges
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Bannon Faces Uphill Battle To Fight Contempt Charges

Bannon willingly defied Congressional Subpoenas because he is a hubris, self entitled narcissistic anarchist

Yesterday was the first day of Steve Bannon, an American political strategist. He served as the White House’s Chief strategist in the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump during the first seven months of Trump’s term. Bannon is on trial on contempt of Congress charges for failing to comply with subpoenas from the House committee investigating the January 6 deadly insurrection. 

The bulk of Tuesday’s morning session revolved around debates over how much of Bannon’s communications with the January 6 committee can be admissible as evidence. Bannon is charged with defying a subpoena from the January 6 committee that sought his records and testimony. 

Bannon “chose to show his contempt for Congresses’ authority and its processes” by refusing to comply with a subpoena, Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Rose Vaughn told jurors. “It wasn’t optional, it wasn’t a request, and it wasn’t an invitation. It was mandatory,” Vaughn said. 

Bannon was indicted in November on two counts of criminal contempt of Congress, one month after the Justice Department received a congressional referral. Bannon’s attorney David Schoen planned a defense to argue that Bannon believed he was in the midst of an ongoing negotiation with the January 6 committee and that he believed “the dates were malleable.” 

While the attorneys for the government intended to argue, there was no confusion on Bannon’s part and that his failure to appear was a simple matter of defiance and disrespect for the congressional investigation. 

Here are some key moments from the first day of his trial:  

In her opening statement, prosecutor Amanda Vaughn told the jury that Bannon “prevented the government from getting the important information it needed from him. She said, “Congress needed to know what the defendant knew about the events of January 6, 2021.” 

Bannon’s lawyer, Evan Corcoran, defends Bannon in his opening statement by telling the jury that he is innocent of all charges. He then talks about Bannon’s biography to create an image of him being a prime citizen. 

The Department of Justice (D.O.J) prosecutor questions the first witness, House Committee staffer Kristin Amerling, about the purpose of the House January 6 committee and how committees function as a part of Congress. After the background questions, Vaughn moved to specific questions about the House January 6 committee. “The committee is tasked with providing the public a complete account of what happened on that day, why it happened and it is also tasked with evaluating recommendations on laws, regulations, rules policies that will help make sure something like that never happens again,” Amerling testified. 

Amerling testified that it only has about a year and a half to do its work. Amerling said there is an “urgency” to the committee’s work, given its focus on a violent assault on the U.S. Capitol and law enforcement. “We have a limited amount of time to gather information,” Amerling said while noting that “the threat to our democratic institutions continues.”

According to legal experts, Bannon’s trial should be a slam dunk case for a textbook conviction. His legal team has been given strict instructions from the judge regarding what type of defense can be used in court. Most of the arguments presented by his legal team were shot down, which means Bannon’s team will need to be creative when defending him or enter into a guilty plea.