House GOP Trying So Hard To Help Felon Bannon

Steve Bannon, the former adviser to Donald Trump, was convicted of contempt of Congress in July 2022. He lost his first appeal this past May. He lost his second appeal last week. He is due to report to prison on Monday.

But Republicans are doing everything they can to throw him a rope—and not the kind some of them offered to Mike Pence. Instead, Republicans in the House are making an extraordinary effort to repudiate a past Congress, disowning the whole investigation of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, in hopes this will somehow make Bannon’s conviction no longer count.

That House Republicans are willing to erase history—so long as it doesn’t involve a Confederate statue—should come as no surprise. After all, this is the same group that tried to unimpeach Trump. But what’s amazing is that they’re willing to go to such lengths for a third-rate podcaster who is likely to be in prison by Election Day no matter what they do.

If this Republican time machine is successful, it sets an amazing precedent for each Congress to examine and attack the actions of its predecessors—making it even more difficult for Congress to take any large legal actions since courts often move slowly and House terms are brief. 

That hasn’t stopped Republicans from going all in for Bannon.

On June 21, Bannon sent an emergency appeal to the Supreme Court. In it, Bannon’s attorney suggested that the purpose of his imprisonment was to keep a key player off the stage in the days leading up to the election.

“There is also no denying the fact that the government seeks to imprison Mr. Bannon for the four-month period immediately preceding the November presidential election,” attorney Trent McCotter wrote. 

House Republicans seem to agree with the importance of preventing Bannon from suffering a single day behind bars so that he can keep on promising that Trump’s opponents will all be going to jail once Team Orange is back in power. 

“You are going to be investigated, prosecuted, and incarcerated,” Bannon warned Democrats at a convention in Detroit earlier this month. “This has nothing to do with retribution. It has nothing to do with revenge. Because retribution and revenge might be another order of magnitude. This has to do with justice.”

But justice has a different meaning for Republicans. On Tuesday, Speaker of the House Mike Johnson made a mockery of the chamber’s Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group as it voted along party lines to send an amicus brief in support of Bannon to the Supreme Court.

A joint statement from Johnson, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, and House Majority Whip Tom Emmer said that the House will “withdraw certain arguments made by the House earlier in the litigation about the organization of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol during the prior Congress.”

The trio also disowned the entire Jan. 6 Select Committee, saying that they believed “Speaker Pelosi abused her authority when organizing the Select Committee.”

Johnson followed up with a Fox News appearance in which he told host Sean Hannity that “the Jan. 6 committee was, we think, wrongfully constituted. We think the work was tainted. We think that they may have very well covered up evidence and maybe even more nefarious activities.”

The speaker provided no evidence for any of these accusations. 

In 2021, Senate Republicans blocked efforts to institute an independent investigation of the Jan. 6 assault on Congress. And in March, House Republicans issued a report seeking to exonerate Trump from any wrongdoing and discredit the findings of the select committee. That report made absolutely no mention of Trump’s role in the attack and instead blamed the Capitol Police for “a failure to provide proper security.”

Trump has already saved Bannon once by throwing him a pardon during his final hours in office. That pardon saved Bannon from facing the consequences for his central role in a border-wall-related fraud case, where one of his partners in crime is currently serving a four-year sentence in federal prison.

But Bannon faces a New York state trial in September over the same acts of criminal fraud. And Trump’s pardon can’t save him from a state charge. 

Bannon’s trial was originally slated to be conducted by Justice Juan Merchan, the judge who presided over Trump’s recent hush-money trial. Bannon’s trial has now been reassigned to Justice April Newbauer because of a reported conflict in Merchan’s schedule. However, the date for the trial hasn’t changed. 

Considering that others in the case have been found guilty, that’s a good indication that, no matter how much rope House Republicans unspool, it’s likely that Steve Bannon will be watching the election results on prison TV.

Republished with permission from Daily Kos.

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