Trump-appointed District Court Judge, Carl J. Nichols won’t dismiss Steve Bannon’s contempt of Congress indictment. Nichols rejected Bannon’s attempt to claim executive privilege in his refusal to cooperate with the Select Committee’s investigation into the January 6th Capitol riot, saying there was insufficient evidence proving Donald Trump asserted executive privilege or attempted to prevent Bannon’s testimony, per POLITICO.
Kyle Cheney tweeted:
HAPPENING NOW: Judge in Bannon criminal contempt case has rejected his motion to dismiss the indictment. He's going through his reasoning now.
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) June 15, 2022
Bannon’s attorneys tried to argue that Bannon’s testimony would be a violation of Trump’s executive privilege and were quickly shot down. As were Bannon’s claims that the “make-up” of the January 6th Committee was politically motivated. Bannon attorney David Schoen told CNN, “I believed from the start that it’s a purely political motive going after Bannon.”
Judge Nichols disagreed, saying in his decision, “The court cannot conclude as a matter of law that the committee was invalidly constituted.”
The House Select Committee referred Bannon to the Department of Justice in October 2021, and in November, Merrick Garland’s DOJ indicted the former senior counselor and strategist for Trump on two counts of contempt of Congress. Bannon was levied with charges that carry up to one year in jail each, and a $100,000 fine. District Court Judge Carl Nichols rejected Bannon’s attempts to delay his prosecution after indictment.
A judge rejected an attempt by Bannon’s defense to delay action in the case until the new year, but said he’s not convinced yet that the Justice Department’s timetable is realistic either https://t.co/vJhpKNwEaT
— POLITICO (@politico) November 18, 2021
As his July 18th trial date moves closer, Bannon’s desperation is becoming more evident. On June 7th, Bannon subpoenaed all nine members of the select committee, along with several members of congress, to testify at his trial. The likelihood of this happening is slim, as legislators and their staff, are constitutionally protected from being compelled to testify. Former House of Representatives General Counsel Thomas Spulak said “In this particular case I’m extremely confident that the staff members and members of the House would be shielded by the Speech and Debate Clause.”
Aside from Peter Navarro, Steve Bannon is the only other one of Trump’s inner circle the DOJ has pursued a criminal case against. The Department declined to act on the select committee’s referral to hold former White House Chief-of-Staff Mark Meadows and former Deputy Chief Dan Scavino in contempt. Still, time is running out for those in Trump’s inner circle, as the January 6th Committee is showing no signs of slowing down or easing up. With Bannon’s history of skirting the law and with the pardoner-in-chief no longer in office to save the day, he – and America – seems one step closer to seeing justice finally be served.
Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick
News journalist for Occupy Democrats.