When Steve Bannon made the last minute desperation move of having Donald Trump waive imaginary executive privilege between them that by law didn’t exist anyway, and then offered to testify to the January 6th Committee, it was pretty clear that if Bannon was just playing games it wouldn’t work. Sure enough, earlier today the DOJ revealed that it was fully prepared for this nonsense, and had already gotten Trump’s lawyer to testify that Trump never even tried to grant Bannon executive privilege to begin with. Now the judge in the Bannon case is finishing off what little was left of Bannon’s stunt.
The judge has ruled that Bannon cannot argue during his trial that he thought Trump had given him immunity from testifying to the January 6th Committee. So there goes the executive privilege waiver stunt. The judge also ruled that Bannon can’t argue that the committee is illegitimate, or that the DOJ was being evil in its decision to charge him. Finally, the judge shot down Bannon’s request for a delay in the start of the trial. It’s on for next week.
To give you an idea of how badly this is going for Steve Bannon, his biggest “win” today was when the judge granted his request that he be allowed to argue at trial that he believed his subpoena deadline had been extended. Given that Bannon won’t be able to produce any evidence to support this imaginary claim, it won’t help him in court anyway.
This is the latest reminder that federal criminal court isn’t Twitter or Steve Bannon’s podcast. Things work a certain way in court, and that doesn’t change just because the criminal defendant is a schemer who thinks he’s more clever than he is.
At this point the real question is when or whether Steve Bannon will finally figure out that he truly is screwed, and that his only way to avoid prison is to cut a cooperation deal with the Feds against Donald Trump. As has been clear for some time, Bannon cannot simply magic wand his way out of this.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report