Steve Bannon’s arrest today proved that despite the best efforts of Donald Trump and Bill Barr at sabotaging it, the SDNY still stands. It’s a reminder that Trump and Barr don’t have a magic wand when it comes to their criminal scheming, and that Barr doesn’t have as much control over the Department of Justice as he’d like. The timing of Bannon’s arrest is fascinating.
Just a couple days ago we learned that back in 2019 the Senate Intelligence Committee referred several Trump people for prosecution, including Steve Bannon. We were wondering why this year-old information was suddenly leaking to the media now, and if it meant that the information was finally about to be acted upon. Now suddenly Bannon has been arrested. On the surface his fraud charges are unrelated to his criminal referral for lying to Congress, but again, the timing raises questions about whether this is a coincidence.
Among the other names who were referred for criminal investigation by the Senate: Donald Trump Junior and Jared Kushner. They’d better hope that Bill Barr has control over whatever arm of the DOJ that is responsible for prosecuting those cases. We just saw that Barr has no control over the Feds at the SDNY, and it’s worth pointing out that Trump Jr and Kushner are both New York based.
It gets even worse for Donald Trump Jr when you consider that he did a testimonial and a fundraiser for Steve Bannon’s wall scam. This directly ties Junior to Bannon’s arrest, though prosecutors would need to prove that Junior knew it was a scam when he decided to promote it.
The bottom line is that no one is safe. If the Feds are arresting Steve Bannon this close to the election, it means they have no fear of arresting anyone in Donald Trump’s circle. Trump can try pardoning his family members if they’re arrested before the election, but such pardons could come at great political cost in the polls, at a time when Trump can’t afford it. The bottom line is that everyone in Trump’s orbit has good reason to be worried right now. We don’t know if or when another arrest is coming before the election – but neither do they.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report