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Steve Bannon’s Day In Court Is All Losses For Trump Ally

Steve Bannon’s Day In Court Is All Losses For Trump Ally

Steve Bannon may be the only member of Donald Trump’s inner circle to end up being tried for contempt of Congress over a refusal to cooperate with the January 6th Committee. As test cases go, though, his is turning out to be more of a red flag than an invitation to follow, for any other Trump allies considering the same route.

US President Donald Trump (L) congratulates Senior Counselor to the President Stephen Bannon during the swearing-in of senior staff in the East Room of the White House on January 22, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

After months of refusing to cooperate with a Congressional subpoena, Bannon finally indicated that he would talk to the House Select Committee, barely a week before his trial date. He’d been refusing to do so, claiming a basis of “executive privilege” — which courts have not agreed that he has, at all. Now, he’s sharing a letter from Donald Trump, purporting to release him from his non-existent privilege and permit him to speak to the Committee, with a few caveats.

However, the Committee says he won’t be afforded any special treatment, and now his claim of cooperation has been shot down as a desperate measure to dodge his criminal contempt trial. At a Monday hearing, Bannon’s representation (Bannon himself was not present) argued for a delay in trial.

Live-tweeting the hearing, Politico‘s Kyle Cheney shared that the judge refused to delay Bannon’s July 18th trial.

That’s not all though — Judge Carl Nichols also shot down many of Bannon’s proposed defenses, and ruled in favor of the Justice Department on multiple motions.

He cut off Bannon’s claims that the House Committee is “illegitimate,” as well as any efforts to suggest that Bannon should not face trial since others who also refused to appear are not being held in contempt.

(The January 6th Committee turned over multiple individuals to the Justice Department for contempt charges, but the DOJ did not choose to press charges against all of them.)

NBC reported back in April that the same judge had already told Bannon other defenses, including blaming his attorney, were off the table.

While Bannon did contact the January 6th Committee to indicate he’s willing to testify, it’s not clear if there have been any additional communications to actually plan that testimony.

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