Back when the January 6th Committee decided that Steve Bannon would be the first big name it subpoenaed, we noted that he was one of the least likely big names to cooperate, due to his ongoing legal trouble. Accordingly, we surmised that the committee went with Bannon first, knowing he wouldn’t cooperate, so it could make an example out of him by having him indicted and arrested, and scare other more skittish witnesses into cooperating.
Sure enough, “Stop the Steal” organizer Ali Alexander – who’s so skittish he’s spent all year in hiding – just released a video confirming he’ll cooperate with the January 6th Committee when he’s scheduled to testify in December. Alexander specifically stated that he’s only doing so because he doesn’t want to go to prison. In other words, just as intended, the Bannon indictment and arrest has scared Alexander into talking.
There are of course a number of folks who still can’t follow this logic. They’re upset that Bannon is out on bail and isn’t currently behind bars. But who cares? His trial, conviction, and imprisonment will come. In the meantime, this is about winning. And using Bannon to scare Alexander into cooperating is a major win for the committee.
There are also those who are now concerned because the committee hasn’t yet referred Mark Meadows for contempt. They’re demanding to know why it hasn’t happened yet. But again, who cares? Meadows has decided not to cooperate. The point of indicting him is to scare others into cooperating. To that end, the Meadows indictment is not a race. It’s all about timing. The committee wants big headlines and media coverage of Meadows’ criminal referral and arrest, so as to scare other witnesses into caving. That wasn’t going to happen leading up to Thanksgiving, so the committee waited until probably later this week.
“But we’re running out of time before all hope is lost!” No we’re not. The doomsday pundits said this same thing last month, and the month before that. Yet we’re all still here. No countdown timer has gone off, and no trap door has opened up beneath us. Donald Trump is not five minutes away from making a magic comeback. This is a long game for the committee.
Of course a month from now, when Mark Meadows has been indicted, and three other January 6th witnesses have caved as a result, or whatever the landscape ends up precisely looking like at that point, the doomsday pundits will still insist that we’re doomed because some other specific name hasn’t yet been indicted. The hysteria never ends.
Meanwhile back in the real world, based on Ali Alexander’s own words, the Bannon indictment has directly led to Alexander cooperating. In other words, things are going exactly like you would have realistically hoped they’d go. But you have to accept that busting the non-cooperators is all about getting others to cooperate. Those who can’t follow that concept are going to end up being confused by every single thing the committee does.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report