Bannon accepts Jan. 6 testimony as ‘trick’ and ‘strategy’: legal experts


Legal experts quickly cast doubt on the worth and credibility of right-wing strategist Steve Bannon agreeing to testify before the House Select Committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol.

News first broke on Sunday that Trump, in a Saturday letter, waved the executive privilege he claimed over Bannon’s testimony. The former Trump administration official’s attorney also sent a letter to the committee saying his client is “willing to, and indeed prefers, to testify at your public hearing.”

The news was seen as a significant reversal, as Bannon has been a harsh critic of the House Select Committee as he continues to be a strong supporter of the ex-president.

Last year he was summoned by investigators but refused to comply. In November, Bannon was indicted by a grand jury convened by the Justice Department for contempt of Congress after a criminal dismissal was approved in a majority vote by the full chamber. Last month, a federal judge refused to dismiss the contempt charges, so the former Trump adviser will go on trial later this month.

In response to the news, legal experts quickly intervened. Some have described Bannon’s decision as a “trick” or a “ploy”.

“I sense a gimmick to provide ultimate defense in the Bannon criminal case and poison the well in the Jan. 6 inquest. It’s the perfect two-fer!” University of Michigan law professor Barb McQuade wrote on Twitter, retweeting one post that included Trump’s letter and one that was addressed to the committee.

“Bannon wants his own special treatment from the Jan. 6 committee — going straight to a public hearing where he can show up and refuse to answer questions,” wrote Tristan Snell, attorney and founder of the Main Street law firm. , in a tweet. “False. He should be treated like any other witness: private hearing first to determine if he is truly cooperative.”

Glenn Kirschner, a former federal prosecutor, told MSNBC The Sunday show that he believed Bannon’s decision was a “ploy” to aid his defense against the contempt of Congress charges.

“It all looks like a ploy,” Kirschner said. “Why? Because he’s going to claim, ‘Well, look, now I have a dispensation. I have a waiver from Donald Trump. That’s why I couldn’t testify before. That’s why I have a legal defense against the contempt of Congress charge.'”

Kirschner called the letters “nonsense” and a “charade”.

Legal experts have raised questions about Saturday’s letter from right-wing strategist Steve Bannon agreeing to testify before the House Select Committee on January 6. Above, Bannon appears on screen during the fourth House Select Committee hearing on June 21 in Washington, DC
MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Joyce Alene, a former district attorney and professor at the University of Alabama School of Law, wrote on Twitter that she was skeptical of Bannon’s offer being made in “good faith.”

“Given Bannon’s clear statements over time that he wants to burn down the whole government, there is no reason to treat this as a bona fide offer. As with all other witnesses, he should first speak privately with the committee, under oath, to test their sincerity,” she wrote. “The Cmte cannot assess whether Bannon has something to offer that is worth spending the limited audience time until he speaks to him. Interrogators must determine whether his testimony is relevant, novel (or simply cumulative) and test his credibility. Doesn’t he deserve any favors.”

In a follow-up article on Sunday, McQuade argued that the Jan. 6 committee should reject Bannon’s offer.

“J6C should tell him too late, let the DOJ bring him to trial for contempt, and then the DOJ can compel him to testify for his role in the plan,” she wrote.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat who sits on the committee, told CNN she would “expect” Bannon to testify after the committee received the letter, adding that the committee would like him to testify in closed session. closed, as was the case. with previous witnesses.

“We got the letter around midnight from his lawyer saying he would testify, and we wanted him to testify,” Lofgren told CNN on Sunday. “So the committee, of course, hasn’t had a chance to discuss it yet, but I expect that we will hear from him. And we have many questions for him.”

In Trump’s letter to Bannon waving privilege, he wrote, “When you first received the subpoena to testify and provide documents, I invoked executive privilege. the legal fees and all the trauma you have to go through for the love of your country and out of respect for the president’s office.”

Many legal experts have long dismissed the idea that Trump could legitimately claim privilege over Bannon’s testimony. Although Bannon served as Trump’s 2016 campaign general manager and a White House official, he left the Trump administration in August 2017. As a result, all efforts to undo the 2020 election results and the events of 6 January occurred when Bannon was a private citizen.




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