Two of Spades, Steve Bannon: Fanboy of fascist Orban, Trump-pardoned, twice convicted, conspired to overturn 2020 election

Delusional grifter or simply a traitor to his Country?

 

My Unsettling Interview With Steve Bannon

David Brooks

July 1, 2024

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/07/01/opinion/steve-bannon-trump.html

[Excerpt:]

Bannon:
The MAGA movement controls the Republican Party and backs President Trump. So yes, Trump is a revolution — remember, General Washington, the revolution and the foundation, and then Lincoln, the birth of the new America. And he’s the most nationalist guy we’ve ever had. Remember, fighting the Civil War as a warlord, to make sure that we were a nation. Remember, he’s a nationalist.

I hate to say this, but Trump’s the third. Trump is taking America back to its more constitutional Republic for the third time, and that drives the credentialed left nuts because he’s not just a class traitor, he’s a low-end guy from Queens. He’s not up to their social — it’s too tacky. It’s the gold. It’s the Trump stuff. They hate him. They hate him to a passionate level. They look at the noise around Trump and miss the signal of what’s really happening, and they can’t get past that, and they’re blinded by it.

The outspoken Trump ally was convicted two years ago of contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena from the House Jan. 6 committee. He faces a four-month sentence.

 

2017: “I’m a Leninist. Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.”  thedailybeast.com, April 13, 2017

 

2017: Bannon levels charges of voter fraud in New Hampshire, a state won by Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. Election officials repeatedly said there is no reason to doubt the legitimacy of the vote count. npr.org, Nov. 10, 2017

 

2018:“Let them call you racist. Let them call you xenophobes. Let them call you nativists,” he said. “Wear it as a badge of honor.  abcnews.go.com, Mar. 10, 2018

 

2019: “I think that 2019 is going to be the most vitriolic year in American politics since before the Civil War.” 

 

2020: Bannon lays out a three-prong case to overturn the certified results: illegal voting, mail-in ballots and voting machines. rollcall.com, Dec. 20, 2020

New York federal prosecutors on Thursday charged President Donald Trump’s former adviser Steve Bannon and three others with defrauding donors of hundreds of thousands of dollars as part of a fundraising campaign purportedly aimed at supporting Trump’s border wall. Bannon, 66, was arrested at 7:30 a.m. Thursday near Westbrook, Connecticut, on the yacht of exiled Chinese dissident Guo Wengui, according to two law enforcement officials. edition.cnn.com, August 20, 2020

 

2021: Trump Adviser Peter Navarro Lays Out How He and Bannon Planned to Overturn Biden’s Electoral Win. https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-advisor-peter-navarro-lays-out-how-he-and-steve-bannon-planned-to-overturn-bidens-electoral-win

 

2022-24:
Little Leninist Bannon,  free-falls into demagogic darkness:
 

 

 

 

 

Close to Bannon’s desk sits a copy of Project 2025, the near 900-page blueprint for a second Trump presidencyincluding a Bannon-esque dismantling of the administrative stateproduced by the Heritage Foundation, a thinktank just a few minutes’ walk away. “I keep my bible right there,” Bannon says admiringly. “It shows you that he has a vast group of people that want to work with him. The left is in total and complete meltdown.”

From attacking Trump’s impeachment to draconian border security (“I’m 100% for mass deportations day one”), from baseless vaccine conspiracy theories to slashing military funding to Ukraine, War Room is an incubator of policies that worm their way into Republican orthodoxy months or years later.

“We get on an idea and we drive it,” Bannon says. “We think through narratives we’re working on and we think how we’re going to place people and how they’re going to come on and what we’re going to talk about. What’s the narrative engine of this? We do a ton of work to make sure that we’re not wrong on things.”

Factcheckers disagree. Last year a study by the Brookings Institution thinktank in Washington found that almost 20% of War Room episodes contained a false, misleading or unsubstantiated statement, making it a bigger spreader of disinformation than any other political podcast.

Peltz adds: “War Room is on four hours a day, five days a week, and two hours on Saturday. It is an endless stream of nonsense and the overwhelming volume of the content allows him to just throw spaghetti at the wall and one thing sticks, the other thing doesn’t stick. He’s very heavy on apocalyptic innuendo and very light on details.”

 

“Arizona defendant Christina Bobb plays key role on RNC election integrity team”

Amy Gardner and Yvonne Wingett Sanchez in the Washington Post:

“When conservative lawyer and media personality Christina Bobb became the latest member of Donald Trump’s inner circle to be charged for her alleged role in the effort to reverse the 2020 presidential election results, it became immediately clear she would not have to give up her day job: senior counsel to the Republican National Committee’s election integrity team.

“For some, there is a certain irony — if not outright conflict — that a leading purveyor of false claims that the 2020 election was riddled with fraud is a major player in the national GOP’s efforts to protect the integrity of the 2024 vote.

“But not for Bobb, and not for her closest allies — including Trump himself, who through a spokesman defended only Bobb by name among all the 18 individuals indicted Wednesday in Arizona. If anything, Bobb’s indictment solidifies her identity as a dedicated Trump loyalist who fiercely fought to reverse his loss in the politically competitive state and potentially elevates her role within the RNC to help him win in November.”

The article then details the role that Bobb played in the Arizona “fake electors” scheme, based on the allegations in the indictment and evidence from the House January 6 Committee.

The article then continues to discuss the potential role that Bobb might play in this fall’s election:

“Some who have left said they fear that the party’s new election-integrity operation, particularly with Bobb in its midst, will veer toward embracing unfounded conspiracy theories that alienate more moderate Republicans.

““That was a bad hire,” Robin Vos, the Republican speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly, said in a televised interview about Bobb’s new job. “Christina Bobb is part of the fringe element that I don’t think helps to build credibility, not only in our party but in the entire country.”

Stephen K. Bannon, the former senior Trump adviser, said in an interview Thursday that he recommended to the Trump team that people like Bobb and others who have strong connections to the election integrity movement be hired into the RNC because “we need that kind of will to fight — someone who is going to contest elections everywhere.” [Boldface added]

“With direct access to Trump by phone, Bobb can also serve as a direct link between the RNC and the former president, taking his input and sharing internal strategy with him, Bannon said. But that can cut two ways if Bobb pushes the party’s election integrity operation toward activity that draws legal scrutiny, several GOP operatives said, speaking candidly on condition of anonymity.

“Until 2018, the RNC operated under a federal consent decree prohibiting the committee from participating in election-day operations — the result of a 1982lawsuit from Democrats charging the committee with trying to discourage Black voters from casting ballots through targeted mailings and positioning armed, off-duty officers at polls in minority neighborhoods.

““What we worry about is Christina Bobb going rogue and doing something dumb and us getting thrown back into the consent decree,” one GOP strategist said.

“If volunteers or campaign operatives misstep, “Marc Elias and his well-funded allies are going to try to get the consent decree reinstated, and that’s something we’re all concerned about,” said another GOP operative, referring to the Democratic elections lawyer.”

There’s more in the piece. The whole article is very much worth a read.

 

“Arizona defendant Christina Bobb plays key role on RNC election integrity team”

Amy Gardner and Yvonne Wingett Sanchez in the Washington Post:

“When conservative lawyer and media personality Christina Bobb became the latest member of Donald Trump’s inner circle to be charged for her alleged role in the effort to reverse the 2020 presidential election results, it became immediately clear she would not have to give up her day job: senior counsel to the Republican National Committee’s election integrity team.

“For some, there is a certain irony — if not outright conflict — that a leading purveyor of false claims that the 2020 election was riddled with fraud is a major player in the national GOP’s efforts to protect the integrity of the 2024 vote.

“But not for Bobb, and not for her closest allies — including Trump himself, who through a spokesman defended only Bobb by name among all the 18 individuals indicted Wednesday in Arizona. If anything, Bobb’s indictment solidifies her identity as a dedicated Trump loyalist who fiercely fought to reverse his loss in the politically competitive state and potentially elevates her role within the RNC to help him win in November.”

The article then details the role that Bobb played in the Arizona “fake electors” scheme, based on the allegations in the indictment and evidence from the House January 6 Committee.

The article then continues to discuss the potential role that Bobb might play in this fall’s election:

“Some who have left said they fear that the party’s new election-integrity operation, particularly with Bobb in its midst, will veer toward embracing unfounded conspiracy theories that alienate more moderate Republicans.

““That was a bad hire,” Robin Vos, the Republican speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly, said in a televised interview about Bobb’s new job. “Christina Bobb is part of the fringe element that I don’t think helps to build credibility, not only in our party but in the entire country.”

Stephen K. Bannon, the former senior Trump adviser, said in an interview Thursday that he recommended to the Trump team that people like Bobb and others who have strong connections to the election integrity movement be hired into the RNC because “we need that kind of will to fight — someone who is going to contest elections everywhere.”

“With direct access to Trump by phone, Bobb can also serve as a direct link between the RNC and the former president, taking his input and sharing internal strategy with him, Bannon said. But that can cut two ways if Bobb pushes the party’s election integrity operation toward activity that draws legal scrutiny, several GOP operatives said, speaking candidly on condition of anonymity.

“Until 2018, the RNC operated under a federal consent decree prohibiting the committee from participating in election-day operations — the result of a 1982lawsuit from Democrats charging the committee with trying to discourage Black voters from casting ballots through targeted mailings and positioning armed, off-duty officers at polls in minority neighborhoods.

““What we worry about is Christina Bobb going rogue and doing something dumb and us getting thrown back into the consent decree,” one GOP strategist said.

“If volunteers or campaign operatives misstep, “Marc Elias and his well-funded allies are going to try to get the consent decree reinstated, and that’s something we’re all concerned about,” said another GOP operative, referring to the Democratic elections lawyer.”

There’s more in the piece. The whole article is very much worth a read.

 

“Arizona defendant Christina Bobb plays key role on RNC election integrity team”

Amy Gardner and Yvonne Wingett Sanchez in the Washington Post:

“When conservative lawyer and media personality Christina Bobb became the latest member of Donald Trump’s inner circle to be charged for her alleged role in the effort to reverse the 2020 presidential election results, it became immediately clear she would not have to give up her day job: senior counsel to the Republican National Committee’s election integrity team.

“For some, there is a certain irony — if not outright conflict — that a leading purveyor of false claims that the 2020 election was riddled with fraud is a major player in the national GOP’s efforts to protect the integrity of the 2024 vote.

“But not for Bobb, and not for her closest allies — including Trump himself, who through a spokesman defended only Bobb by name among all the 18 individuals indicted Wednesday in Arizona. If anything, Bobb’s indictment solidifies her identity as a dedicated Trump loyalist who fiercely fought to reverse his loss in the politically competitive state and potentially elevates her role within the RNC to help him win in November.”

The article then details the role that Bobb played in the Arizona “fake electors” scheme, based on the allegations in the indictment and evidence from the House January 6 Committee.

The article then continues to discuss the potential role that Bobb might play in this fall’s election:

“Some who have left said they fear that the party’s new election-integrity operation, particularly with Bobb in its midst, will veer toward embracing unfounded conspiracy theories that alienate more moderate Republicans.

““That was a bad hire,” Robin Vos, the Republican speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly, said in a televised interview about Bobb’s new job. “Christina Bobb is part of the fringe element that I don’t think helps to build credibility, not only in our party but in the entire country.”

Stephen K. Bannon, the former senior Trump adviser, said in an interview Thursday that he recommended to the Trump team that people like Bobb and others who have strong connections to the election integrity movement be hired into the RNC because “we need that kind of will to fight — someone who is going to contest elections everywhere.”

“With direct access to Trump by phone, Bobb can also serve as a direct link between the RNC and the former president, taking his input and sharing internal strategy with him, Bannon said. But that can cut two ways if Bobb pushes the party’s election integrity operation toward activity that draws legal scrutiny, several GOP operatives said, speaking candidly on condition of anonymity.

“Until 2018, the RNC operated under a federal consent decree prohibiting the committee from participating in election-day operations — the result of a 1982lawsuit from Democrats charging the committee with trying to discourage Black voters from casting ballots through targeted mailings and positioning armed, off-duty officers at polls in minority neighborhoods.

““What we worry about is Christina Bobb going rogue and doing something dumb and us getting thrown back into the consent decree,” one GOP strategist said.

“If volunteers or campaign operatives misstep, “Marc Elias and his well-funded allies are going to try to get the consent decree reinstated, and that’s something we’re all concerned about,” said another GOP operative, referring to the Democratic elections lawyer.”

There’s more in the piece. The whole article is very much worth a read.

[Boldface added]

 

Trump pardoned them. Now they’re helping him return to power.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/interactive/2023/trump-pardon-power-2024-benefit/

 

Steve Bannon’s bid to avoid prison heads to appeals court

https://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/steve-bannons-bid-to-avoid-prison-heads-to-appeals-court/

[Excerpts:]

Steve Bannon’s bid to avoid prison heads to a federal appeals court Thursday as the onetime Trump White House strategist attempts to overturn his conviction.

A jury last year found Bannon guilty of two counts of contempt of Congress after he defied a subpoena from the Jan. 6 House select committee. 

With his four-month prison sentence on hold, Bannon’s attorney will go before a three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday to argue his client’s constitutional rights were violated.

The onetime former President Trump aide and “Bannon’s War Room” podcast host is advancing several arguments rejected by a lower court, including that the Jan. 6 committee’s subpoena wasn’t valid in the first place.

Even if it was, Bannon contends he was entitled to present various defenses to the jury to explain his defiance. Bannon insists he is innocent because he relied on his attorney’s advice and legal opinions from within the Department of Justice.

“Bannon was barred from putting on any evidence or argument that he believed he responded to the subpoena in the only way the law permitted, once executive privilege was invoked and that he acted in the manner his experienced lawyer directed him that he had to act as a matter of law,” Bannon’s attorney wrote in court filings.

Weeks after the House voted largely along partisan lines to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress, federal prosecutors indicted him in November 2021.

The House voted to hold four people in contempt in connection with the Jan. 6 committee’s investigation. The list comprised Bannon, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, former White House deputy chief of staff for communications Dan Scavino, and Peter Navarro, who served as a trade adviser to Trump.

The Justice Department ultimately declined to charge Meadows and Scavino but did bring charges against both Bannon and Navarro. Navarro was found guilty in September, and he has requested a new trial.

Like Navarro, Bannon’s indictment contained two contempt charges: one for refusing to appear for a deposition and the second for refusing to produce documents.

After Bannon was convicted and sentenced, his trial judge delayed the sentence so Bannon could first appeal. 

If unsuccessful, Bannon faces four months in prison and a fine of $6,500, though the losing side could still try to bring the case to the full appeals court or the Supreme Court.

For now, Bannon heads to a three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit, comprising one appointee from each of the three most recent presidents: Biden, Trump and Obama. Oral argument is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m., with 10 minutes each allotted for Bannon and prosecutors. 

David Schoen, who represented Trump in his second impeachment trial, will represent Bannon, court filings show.

Bannon first disputes the lower court’s interpretation of the word “willfully” in the contempt charge, an interpretation that did not require the government to show to the jury that Bannon believed his subpoena defiance was unlawful.  

It was based on a D.C. Circuit precedent, but Bannon says the precedent can’t be reconciled with a subsequent line of cases. If the interpretation was indeed correct, Bannon contends it would make the statute unconstitutionally overbroad and violate separation of powers principles.

“Recent decisions from the United States Supreme Court emphatically demonstrate the error and the legally unsupportable idea that ‘willfully’ in the context of any criminal statute, let alone one purporting to have a mandatory minimum incarceration element, can dispense with the fundamental requirement that there be some evidence of a wrongful or criminal purpose,” Schoen wrote in court filings.

Bannon has argued he didn’t comply with the Jan. 6 committee subpoena because another one of his attorneys advised him to not do so. He is citing Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) opinions related to executive privilege the attorney believed would preclude Bannon’s prosecution. Bannon argues he should’ve been able to bring up those defenses to the jury.

Prosecutors have long pushed back on that thinking, arguing Bannon was, at minimum, still required to appear before the committee, even if executive privilege did apply to some of the relevant topics.

“The subpoena focused on Bannon’s activities as a private citizen and addressed many topics for which executive privilege could not possibly apply,” prosecutors wrote in court filings. 

“If the subpoena did touch on any privileged matters, Bannon was required to explain to the Committee which documents were allegedly subject to a valid privilege claim and, at the deposition, assert any privilege on a question-by-question basis. Bannon ignored those procedures,” their brief continued.

Bannon also contends the judge impermissibly quashed trial subpoenas Bannon issued to then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the lawmakers who sat on the Jan. 6 committee and multiple staffers involved in the committee’s work.

The judge tossed the subpoenas under the Constitution’s Speech and Debate Clause, which protects lawmakers from lawsuits and questioning for things they say and do as part of their legislative work.

Prosecutors assert the privilege was correctly applied and that the information Bannon sought was irrelevant to his charges, anyway.

“They should not have been allowed to retreat behind the Speech or Debate Clause. … Their assertion of privilege had to yield to the due process and liberty interests of Mr. Bannon,” Schoen wrote.

 

There’s no Jan. 6 justice while Roger Stone, Michael Flynn, and Steve Bannon walk free

Evidence linking Roger Stone, Michael Flynn, and Steve Bannon has been out there since Jan. 6, 2021. Why no criminal charges?

https://www.inquirer.com/opinion/commentary/jan-6-stone-flynn-bannon-charges-20230820.html

You don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to deduce that Roger Stone — the major GOP fixer dating back to the Richard Nixon era — was a major player in the events of Jan. 6, 2021, when an insurrection roiled Capitol Hill. Heck, Inspector Clouseau or Mall Cop’s Paul Blart could probably find this connection.

“This is nothing less than an epic struggle for the future of this country between dark and light, between the godly and the godless, between good and evil,” Stone told a throng of Donald Trump supporters at a chilly evening rally on Jan. 5, less than 24 hours before several thousand stormed the U.S. Capitol and tried to stop the peaceful transfer of power to President Joe Biden. As Stone spoke, he was surrounded by members of the Proud Boys, the group whose leaders would later be convicted of sedition for their role in the insurrection. He added that “I will be with you tomorrow, shoulder-to-shoulder” — even though his exact whereabouts on Jan. 6 are unknown.

Stone was spotted the morning of the storming of the Capitol on the front steps of Washington’s famed Willard Hotel, this time surrounded by members of the Oath Keepers paramilitary group, which has also been taken down in the Jan. 6 probe. Inside the hotel, as the attempted coup unfolded, was a rogues’ gallery of Trump World that included two disgraced former top aides to the 45th president, Michael Flynn and Steve Bannon, and two lawyers who were recently indicted in Georgia along with Trump, Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman.

While Trump, front-runner for the GOP’s 2024 presidential nomination, prepares to defend himself in four separate criminal cases, Stone burst back into the headlines last week with the release of documentary footage showing that the convicted-and-pardoned Trump adviser was discussing a version of the so-called fake electors scheme on Nov. 5, 2020 — even before TV networks had called the race for Biden.

“Any legislative body may decide on the basis of overwhelming evidence of fraud to send electors to the Electoral College who accurately reflect the president’s legitimate victory in their state which was illegally denied him through fraud,” Stone dictated to an aide, as captured on video by filmmaker Christoffer Guldbrandsen. The never-before-seen footage proves that at least one key Trump adviser was pushing to overturn Biden victories in key states two days before the election was even called for Biden. Analysts say the tape seriously undercuts Trump’s potential defense that he truly believed he had won the 2020 election.

To me, the new video is merely more proof of what we’ve already known for more than two years: Stone was up to his eyeballs in involvement in the two-month campaign to overturn the legitimate election results that led to the violence on Jan. 6. But it also points to one of the biggest remaining mysteries around Trump’s attempted coup.

With more than 1,100 people criminally charged in connection with Jan. 6 or the events leading up to it — from the foot soldiers who breached the Capitol to the leaders of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers to Trump and his legal advisers — how has Stone gone untouched?

And what about the others who comprised what could be called the political wing of the attempted coup? That includes Flynn — the former general and short-time national security adviser to Trump — who joined Stone in urging on the January protesters and who offered strategic advice to Trump and his team during the key December run-up. And also Bannon, Trump’s 2016 campaign manager and former White House aide, who was also part of the Willard Hotel “war room” during insurrection week and who warned his podcast listeners that “all hell is going to break loose.”

The fate of these three major insiders says a lot about whether there can truly be justice for Jan. 6. Certainly, the recent indictment of Trump by special counsel Jack Smith around the schemes to prevent the certification of Biden’s victory is a major, unprecedented step. That said, what was arguably the most serious crime in American history — in essence, an attempted overthrow of democracy — demands legal accountability for everyone involved.

And there’s another bit of urgency around proving the extent of the Jan. 6 insurrection plot and the direct involvement of Trump — who was in contact with Stone, Flynn, and Bannon during this critical period. Legal scholars have suggested that Trump could be disqualified from seeking the presidency in 2024 under the 14th Amendment, which bars anyone who took part in an insurrection against the United States.

 

They Are All Bannonists Now

https://morningshots.thebulwark.com/p/they-are-all-bannonists-now

 

 

Steve Bannon facing same judge who presided over Trump Organization trial

Bannon said the Manhattan district attorney “decided to pursue phony charges against me 60 days before the midterm election,” implying the criminal case against him was designed to sway the nation’s vote.Trump has made similar claims about Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg, publicly accusing him of bias for a tax fraud case against Trump’s company. But when lawyers for the Trump Organization signaled they might make a similar argument during the company’s recent trial, they were quickly shut down by the judge presiding over the case.“I will not allow you in any way to bring up a selective prosecution claim, or claim this is some sort of novel prosecution,” Judge Juan Merchan said on Sept. 12, limiting both sides in the Trump Organization trial to arguments focused on the law.That same judge is presiding over Bannon’s case, which is expected to go to trial in November 2023.Bannon was charged on Sept. 8 for his role in a group that raised millions promising to privately build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, but allegedly pocketed funds instead. Bannon had faced similar federal charges in 2020 but was pardoned by Trump during the final hours of his presidency. Presidential pardons do not apply to state charges, such as the ones filed by the Manhattan D.A.In the Trump Organization trial, two branches of the company were found guilty on Dec. 6 of a combined 17 counts related to criminal tax fraud. An attorney for the corporation, Susan Necheles, said the judge’s restriction against arguing political bias hampered the defense.She said Bannon is likely to face similar limitations.“These are political cases. They wouldn’t have been brought if they weren’t political cases, you know, and it’s like the elephant in the room,” Necheles said. “You’re not allowed to talk about it, but there’s a reason why this case was brought.”Necheles noted that during jury selection, many potential jurors — and some who were ultimately selected to decide the case — expressed strong opinions about Trump. Just before opening statements on Oct. 31, Bragg praised Merchan, saying he “runs an efficient courtroom.”That was apparent during early hearings in both the Trump Organization and Bannon proceedings, when Merchan made rulings designed to limit the defenses’ ability to drag the cases out.In the Trump Organization case, during an at-times testy pretrial hearing on Sept. 12, Merchan told Necheles and other attorneys that he was determined to start the trial on time. “One of the accusations is that the defense is trying to stall, you know, it’s starting to feel that way a little bit,” Merchan said. In Bannon’s case, Merchan has already rejected efforts to extend the time before trial. On Oct. 4, Bannon’s attorneys asked for a year to go through four terabytes of data and documents collected by prosecutors, before filing their first motions in the case. Merchan gave them four months. He laid out a schedule, including discovery — the process by which the two sides exchange information — that would have the case ready for trial in a year. And in case Bannon’s side might want to draw out discovery, there’s a cautionary note from the Trump Organization case they might want to heed: In a recently unsealed decision from October 2021, Merchan held the company in contempt for failing to comply with prosecutors’ subpoenas.Bannon is scheduled to appear before Merchan on Jan. 12 for a hearing on discovery. Reached by phone, his attorney John Mitchell declined to discuss the hearing, saying he did not want to violate a Sept. 19 order by the judge, broadly restricting public disclosure of information related to discovery.“I really am not at liberty to discuss these things. We have some rather strong protective orders in place and I’m not entirely sure what I can say,” Mitchell said.

 

Stephen K. Bannon, a former aide to Mr. Trump, was convicted of two counts of contempt of Congress, months after he defied a subpoena to answer questions from the House committee as part of its Jan. 6 investigation.

Steve Bannon faces state indictment in N.Y., will surrender Thursday

The former Trump strategist, convicted of contempt of Congress this summer, was pardoned by Trump on federal charges in 2020

[Excerpt:]

NEW YORK — Stephen K. Bannon is expected to surrender to state prosecutors on Thursday to face a new criminal indictment, people familiar with the matter said, weeks after he was convicted of contempt of Congress and nearly two years after he received a federal pardon from President Donald Trump in a federal fraud case.

The precise details of the state case could not be confirmed Tuesday evening. But people familiar with the situation, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sealed indictment, suggested the prosecution will likely mirror aspects of the federal case in which Bannon was pardoned.

In that indictment, prosecutors alleged that Bannon and several others defrauded contributors to a private, $25 million fundraising effort, called “We Build the Wall,” taking funds that donors were told would support construction of a barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, which handles state-level prosecutions, has been evaluating Bannon’s alleged involvement in that scheme since shortly after Trump pardoned him, The Washington Post reported in February, 2021.

Presidential pardons only apply to federal charges and cannot prohibit state prosecutions.

Bannon, a former top strategist for Trump who was briefly a White House aide, pleaded not guilty to the federal charges in August 2020, after authorities pulled him off a luxury yacht and brought him to court. He was accused of pocketing $1 million in the scheme.

Months later, in the last hours of his presidency, Trump included Bannon on a sweeping clemency list of about 140 people.

 

Dark Money Group in Alleged Bannon Scam Dinged by IRS

The IRS stripped tax-exempt status from Bannon’s Citizens of the American Republic group, which the feds accused of diverting funds from We Build the Wall.

 

Who is Roger Stone? Trump ally and Republican strategist whose clemency grant was seized

[Excerpt:]

What happened between Roger Stone and Steve Bannon?

Stone has reportedly long held a grudge against fellow Trump ally Steve Bannon for testifying against him during his criminal trial in 2019. The feud continued earlier this summer when Bannon was charged with contempt of congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena issued by the Jan. 6 committee. Stone took to social media to taunt him, writing “BYE STEVE.”

Bannon’s trial is already underway with opening arguments beginning Tuesday. Stone has chosen to plead the Fifth in his own dealings with the committee.

 

The Bannon Strategy  (Steve Bannon’s Man in Arizona)

Fringe candidates promising to stop the steal, like Mark Finchem in Arizona, might just have their year.

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/2022/07/mark-finchem-arizona-midterm-elections

You’d think that by now, Mark Finchem would be tired of subverting American democracy. For nearly two years, the Arizona state lawmaker has pushed Donald Trump’s stolen-election lies everywhere he possibly can—QAnon talk shows, Steve Bannon’s podcastoutside the U.S. Capitol building on January 6—and all with the dutiful enthusiasm of a Boy Scout. Despite the lack of any evidence, Finchem has continued to assert that Trump, not Joe Biden, won the 2020 election. This claim has been the bedrock of Finchem’s campaign for Arizona secretary of state.

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Finchem, who wears a cowboy hat and bolo tie despite having spent most of his life in Michigan, is not destined to win. He leads the Republican primary, but the party’s voters are still mostly undecided, and he could be a tough sell for independents in a general election. Still, Finchem’s candidacy is one to watch. He and the dozens of other election-denying candidates running across the country are the electoral legacy of January 6 in America. They present the most significant threat to American democracy in decades. And despite the expected electoral hurdles, this might just be their year.

If you’re a hard-right Republican, now “is the time to be running,” the Arizona pollster Mike Noble told me. Biden’s poll ratings, even among Democrats, are plummeting, and the president’s party typically loses ground in midterm elections. “The red wave’s a-comin’—and a lot of people will be able to surf in [to office] who are typically on the fringe,” Noble said. Which means that Finchem, the man who brought the “Stop the Steal” movement to Arizona, might soon be in charge of this swing state’s elections.

After working for 21 years in the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety, Finchem moved to Arizona, where he was elected in 2014 to the state’s House of Representatives to represent a rural district north of Tucson. In his adopted state, Finchem is well known for his distinct home-on-the-range vibes: thick mustache, conservative policy views, and an abiding distrust of the federal government. For a while, he was the Arizona coordinator for the Coalition of Western States, a group that supported the armed occupation of Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in 2016, and he’s identified himself as a member of the Oath Keepers, a far-right militia group. But what has earned the lawmaker statewide name recognition—and the attention of the broader MAGA movement—has been his dedication to the Stop the Steal cause. (Finchem did not respond to requests for comment.)

Finchem was present for the attempted insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. He tweeted that the riot was “what happens when the People feel ignored, and Congress refuses to acknowledge rampant fraud.” Although Finchem has denied being closer than 500 yards to the Capitol building that day, photos appear to show him standing in the crowd just outside its east steps right after Trump supporters had stormed it. Ali Alexander, the founder of the Stop the Steal campaign, has credited Finchem for single-handedly bringing the antidemocratic movement to Arizona. After the state certified Biden’s win over Trump in 2020, and after subsequent official audits confirmed that result, Finchem and other local Trump allies insisted that there was—there had to be—evidence of widespread fraud. He held firm, even after the partisan review he’d supported turned up nothing. He started posting his theories on MAGA social-media sites such as Gab, where he goes by the username @AZHoneyBadger. He appeared on a number of far-right programs, including more than 80 times on Bannon’s War Room podcast alone, to warn of election-fraud bombshells that never seem to actually explode. Bannon, a former Trump adviser, credits his show with Finchem’s rise: “He was almost like a contributor to War Room for a moment,” Bannon told me. “War Room made him a thing.”

Unsurprisingly, Finchem has secured Trump’s endorsement. During his campaign for secretary of state, Finchem has continued to call for the 2020 election to be decertified, and has advocated for laws that he says would make future elections more secure, co-sponsoring legislation that would allow lawmakers to reject election results, and that would restrict early and mail-in voting. (Finchem opposes early voting, despite having voted early in almost every election since 2004, according to The Arizona Republic.) He also recently filed a lawsuit with the gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake—also endorsed by Trump—to ban the use of electronic voting machines and require that all ballots be counted by hand.
“If we don’t get to the bottom of the fraud that was committed in 2020, it will be pervasive in ’22, ’24, [and] ’26,” Finchem told an interviewer from a right-wing website last month, during an unofficial hearing about the thousands of supposed “counterfeit ballots” submitted in 2020. Americans believe “that we have compromised elections in every state and every county,” Finchem said.

Hundreds of people have emerged from the proverbial political woodwork since 2020 to attach themselves to the fever dreams of a sore loser. Arizona has a passel of these Stop the Steal candidates and politicians, including Lake, who has called Biden an “illegitimate president”; State Senator Wendy Rogers, who encouraged people to “buy more ammo” as Arizona electors were casting their ballots in 2020; and state GOP leader Kelli Ward, who was recently subpoenaed as part of a federal investigation into fake slates of electors convened by the Trump campaign in 2020. But the trend is hardly limited to the Grand Canyon State. Finchem is part of the America First Secretary of State Coalition, a group of election deniers running for the job in a dozen states. Four members of that slate have earned their party’s nomination this year, including Kristina Karamo in Michigan, whom I wrote about last month. Doug Mastriano, who is also part of the coalition, won the GOP’s nomination for governor this year in Pennsylvania and can appoint the secretary of state once in office.

Finchem’s is one among many once-minor (or at least less partisan, less politicized, and less well-financed) state races that have become the target of Trump allies nationwide. And the effort extends to far more junior positions too. Election deniers across America are running to be poll workers and precinct officers and county clerks, positions that have never before received so much attention. “We’re going to take this back village by village … precinct by precinct,” Bannon announced on his podcast last year.

The goal, broadly speaking, is to continue investigating the 2020 election and, in some cases, even to attempt to “decertify” 2020 state results, a move that has no legal basis. What’s the harm in asking questions? candidates like Finchem and the others argue when criticized. We’re protecting future elections! But their investigations only serve to breathe more and more oxygen into conspiracy theories that undermine confidence in American democracy. “There is harm,” Tammy Patrick, a senior adviser at the Democracy Fund, a private foundation working to improve the democratic process in the U.S., told me, “if they refuse to accept the answer.”

Finchem is up against three other primary candidates, and although he has a small lead in recent polling, most Arizona voters are still undecided. (Early voting began in Arizona last week.) Winning a general election would be tough. Even if he does end up in office, some Republicans argue that he wouldn’t pose a risk to democracy. As secretary of state, “he’d follow the law. He may want the law to be different, but he’d follow it,” Chuck Warren, a state GOP strategist, told me. Despite his reputation as a fringy kook, Finchem has integrity, some of his allies told me. He “has dedicated a good part of his life to protecting and serving the public,” says Teresa Martinez, a colleague of Finchem’s in the state House.

But Finchem has spent two solid years trafficking in lies. He’s demonstrated that, through ignorance or cynicism, he is not willing to prioritize the truth over the wild claims of a man desperate for power. Again and again—and mostly on the condition of anonymity—other state Republican advisers and strategists told me that they dread the idea of Finchem in an election-oversight role. In a tight vote, “I would absolutely expect Finchem to both bend the meaning of laws and throw up roadblocks to the normal election procedures,” Barrett Marson, an Arizona GOP consultant, told me.

A nightmare scenario in 2024 isn’t hard to conjure: As secretary of state, Finchem could try to muddy the waters after an election outcome that he or Trump didn’t like by delaying or undermining the election-certification process. If the governor or attorney general shared his desire, they could decide not to certify the election. Arizona on its own might not be enough to tip a general election—Biden would still have won if this scenario had played out in 2020—but if leaders in other states, say Michigan and Pennsylvania, do the same, the election outcome could be subverted.

The midterms will be the first major elections held since Trump lost in 2020. They will test how Americans feel about the sore losers who have spent almost two years crying conspiracy and fraud—and whether this precinct strategy to undermine the country’s democratic system was worth the effort. Will November’s results signal a return to simpler times, when candidates with fewer votes accepted defeat? Or will the midterms confirm that we have entered a new era of postelection doubt-casting and lie-peddling?

Americans’ freedom begins with secretaries of state, Finchem said during the interview at the hearing last month. “This has been the most overlooked office for years, but that’s how they got away with it,” he told the interviewer. “It was supposed to be boring—vanilla. Not so much so anymore.”

Elaine Godfrey is a staff writer at The Atlantic.

 

Steve Bannon and the Politics of Bullshit

A profile of the Trump ally on the eve of the January 6 Committee Hearings raises ominous questions about what’s lurking on the rightward fringes of American politics

https://damonlinker.substack.com/p/steve-bannon-and-the-politics-of
[Excerpt:]

Bannon knows what he hates. Liberals. Progressives. The left. China. But what’s the alternative? It can’t be anything that resembles the Republican Party of the past, because he hates that, too. What then? He can’t really say. In place of a vision of a better world, he offers only negation. His “ideal” future is one of leveling destruction—like the skyscrapers collapsing, one after another, in the final scene of the movie Fight Club. What comes after the skyline has been reduced to rubble, Bannon hasn’t a clue. All he knows is that he wants to be the one to place and detonate the TNT.

That’s why the most illuminating passage in Senior’s profile comes during and just after she recounts something from Errol Morris’s 2018 documentary about Bannon, American Dharma. In this segment, Bannon talks about realizing that gamers create heroic alter egos of themselves online that sometimes feel more real than their real-world selves. Once he absorbed this fact, he combined it with his instinct to build out the comments section while running Breitbart News, so readers could create anonymous avatars of themselves that were more radical, abrasive, unrestrained, and violent than they were in real life. Over time, Bannon came to realize that those militant online personalities could influence the real people behind the digital façades.

Share Eyes on the Right

Speaking of a hypothetical gamer named Dave who’s a paper-pusher in his actual life but plays a ruthless warrior online named after a mythological hero from Greek mythology, Bannon divulges his goal to Senior: “I want Dave in Accounting to be Ajax in his life.” As Senior notes, this is precisely what happened on January 6, 2021: the militant political dream of fighting the enemy spilled over into the world. As Senior puts it, “The fantasy and the reality had become one and the same.”

Master of Bullshit

But again, what precisely is the content of the fantasy to be made real? What’s the better world Bannon hopes to birth with his current main project, the streaming program/podcast War Room, which spins one unverified conspiracy after another seemingly designed to keep viewers/listeners in a state of maximal, agitated indignation?

The answer, I think, is that Bannon has no vision of a better world to offer. The only discernable characteristic of the world that might follow our own is that it’s not this one. Which means that Bannon’s vision is entirely negative, and that justifies him saying absolutely anything, pumping whatever epistemic sewage he can conjure out of his head into the body politic in the hope that the toxins will ultimately succeed in flattening the skyline, come what may.  

 

AMERICAN RASPUTIN

Steve Bannon is still scheming. And he’s still a threat to democracy.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2022/07/steve-bannon-war-room-democracy-threat/638443/

[Excerpts:]

You can discern much of Bannon’s mad character and contradictions in these exchanges. The chaos and the focus, the pugnacity and the enthusiasm, the transparency and the industrial-grade bullshit. Also, the mania: logomania, arithmomania, monomania (he’d likely cop to all of these, especially that last one—he’s the first to say that one of the features of his show is “wash rinse repeat”). Garden-variety hypermania (with a generous assist from espressos). And last of all, perhaps above all else, straight-up megalomania, which even those who profess affection for the man can see, though it appears to be a problem only for those who believe, as I do, that he’s attempting to insert a lit bomb into the mouth of American democracy.

———

I mean: Is this guy Lenin in Zurich, patiently biding his time? Or is he some Estonian anti-Communist émigré from a Le Carré novel, waiting to die in a lonely bedsit in London?

Matthew C. MacWilliams, a public-opinion strategist and the author of On Fascism, is guessing the latter. “Trump threw him out. The Europeans kicked him to the curb. His empire crashed and he ended up with a podcast,” he says. “He’s a parasite. A talker. Rasputin with a digital show. Rasputin was knifed.”

But others still think he has plenty of influence. “He’s a smart man. He’s a crafty man. He’s a showman. And ultimately, he’s a dangerous man,” says yet another former colleague. And a vindictive man: “He commands a little army of terrifying people who can make life really difficult if you cross him.” Which explains why so many people in this story asked for anonymity.

In this person’s estimation, it would not be giving Bannon too much credit to say that he’s built the ideological foundation for Trumpism in this country. “And frankly, I think that that foundation has formed the basis of the mainstreaming of conspiracy theories, a spike in political violence, and a deep and continuous damage to our democratic institutions.”

 

Trump Adviser Peter Navarro Lays Out How He and Bannon Planned to Overturn Biden’s Electoral Win

“It started out perfectly. At 1 p.m., Gosar and Cruz did exactly what was expected of them…”

Jose Pagliery, Political Investigations Reporter

Updated Dec. 28, 2021

https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-advisor-peter-navarro-lays-out-how-he-and-steve-bannon-planned-to-overturn-bidens-electoral-win

A former Trump White House official says he and right-wing provocateur Steve Bannon were actually behind the last-ditch coordinated effort by rogue Republicans in Congress to halt certification of the 2020 election results and keep President Donald Trump in power earlier this year, in a plan dubbed the “Green Bay Sweep.”

In his recently published memoir, Peter Navarro, then-President Donald Trump’s trade adviser, details how he stayed in close contact with Bannon as they put the Green Bay Sweep in motion with help from members of Congress loyal to the cause.

 

February 5, 2021: Bannon received a last-minute pardon from former President Donald J. Trump after being indicted on federal charges of defrauding donors to a border wall, may yet face state charges in connection with the same scheme. The Manhattan district attorney’s office has begun investigating Mr. Bannon’s role in the fund-raising project for the wall. The president’s power to pardon only applies to federal crimes, not state ones. nytimes.com, Feb. 2, 2021

Roger Stone, the conservative political consultant and lobbyist who has worked on Republican campaigns from Richard Nixon to Donald Trump, has said that former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon blackmailed Mr Trump to give him a pardon. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-roger-stone-claims-blackmail-b1859910.html

June 5, 2021: Appearing on fellow MAGA Brain Trust Member Steve Bannon’s show, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has admitted that Donald Trump would have lost the Lone Star State in the 2020 presidential election if Texans had been allowed to vote by mail.

https://hillreporter.com/texas-ag-admits-trump-wouldve-lost-the-state-without-blocking-mail-in-voting-103060

 

June 6, 2021: Team Trump Had a Second Pre-Insurrection War Room

An investigation of who was in this second Insurrection Eve war room has now begun.

Roger Stone, Alex Jones, Steve Bannon and the Willard

Seth Abramson

https://sethabramson.substack.com/p/major-breaking-news-team-trump-had

 

October 27, 2021: This morning, the Democratic majority of the Senate Judiciary Committee released a draft report of its investigation into Trump’s attempt to use the Department of Justice to overturn the results of the 2020 election. The report found that Trump repeatedly tried to get the DOJ to endorse his false claims that the election was stolen and to overturn its results, singling out nine specific attempts to change the outcome. Trump, the report says, “grossly abused the power of the presidency.”

The report points to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows as a key player in the attempt to subvert the DOJ, and it singles out a number of other officials as participants in the pressure campaign. Those people include Jeffrey Bossert Clark from within the DOJ, whom Trump tried to install as acting attorney general to push his demands; Representative Scott Perry (R-PA); Doug Mastriano, a Republican state senator from Pennsylvania; and Cleta Mitchell, a legal adviser to the Trump campaign. The draft report also notes that under Attorney General William Barr, the DOJ “deviated from longstanding practice” when it began to investigate allegations of fraud before the votes were certified.

The report concludes that the efforts to subvert the DOJ were part of Trump’s attempt “to retain the presidency by any means necessary,” a process that “without a doubt” “created the disinformation ecosystem necessary for Trump to incite almost 1000 Americans to breach the Capitol in a violent attempt to subvert democracy by stopping the certification of a free and fair election.” 

Today was also the deadline for four of Trump’s closest allies to turn over documents to the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol and to schedule testimony. Former chief of staff Mark Meadows, social media manager Dan Scavino, adviser Steve Bannon, and former Defense Department official Kash Patel have until midnight tonight to contact the committee.

Trump’s lawyers wrote a letter telling the four men not to cooperate with the congressional subpoena. The letter claims that Trump is planning to contest the subpoenas on the basis of executive privilege. 

[Boldface added.]

Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson

 

October 2, 2021: More from this limelight-loving, “state-destroying”, self-professed Leninist:
Bannon Fires up “shock troops”for next GOP Administration

The former advisor to President Trump spoke Wednesday night to a new association of presidential appointees in Washington.

By Jonathan Allen

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/bannon-fires-shock-troops-next-gop-white-house-n1280591

[Excerpt:]

WASHINGTON — Scores of former Trump political appointees gathered at a GOP social club Wednesday night to hear Steve Bannon detail how they could help the next Republican president reconfigure government.

“If you’re going to take over the administrative state and deconstruct it, then you have to have shock troops prepared to take it over immediately,” Bannon said in a telephone interview with NBC News. “I gave ’em fire and brimstone.”

 

October 14, 2021

Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson

[Excerpts:]

So, the committee report suggests there was high-level planning for the January 6 insurrection. And it goes on:

The report says that it appears Bannon joined others eager to overturn the election “who gathered at the Willard Hotel, two blocks from the White House, on the days surrounding the January 6th attack…. The group that assembled at the Willard Hotel is reported to have included members of the Trump campaign’s legal team (including Rudolph Giuliani and John Eastman), several prominent proponents of false election fraud claims that had been promoted by Mr. Trump (e.g., Russell Ramsland, Jr. and Boris Epshteyn), as well as Roger Stone, who left the hotel with Oath Keeper bodyguards, and campaign spokesman Jason Miller.”

Today, former president Donald Trump did, in fact, invoke executive privilege…but not to cover Bannon.

 

Oct. 21, 2021

Bannon eyed as key link between White House, Jan. 6 riot

BY REBECCA BEITSCH 

https://thehill.com/homenews/house/577673-bannon-eyed-as-key-link-between-white-house-jan-6-riot

[Excerpts:]

The Jan. 6 committee’s vote to refer former Trump strategist Steve Bannonfor criminal charges is putting a spotlight on the central role he may have played in organizing the day and the extent to which he coordinated with the White House and former President Trump

As lawmakers on the House committee voted unanimously Tuesday to forward Bannon to the Justice Department for failure to comply with their subpoena, a repeated refrain was the importance he could play in connecting the day’s events and its participants.

“Based on the committee’s investigation, it appears that Mr. Bannon had substantial advance knowledge of the plans for January 6th and likely had an important role in formulating those plans,” Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the pane’s vice chair, said at the committee meeting.

 

October 20, 2021

Cheney: Bannon’s actions suggest Trump was involved in Jan. 6 planning

BY LEXI LONAS – 10/20/21

https://thehill.com/homenews/house/577515-cheney-bannon-refusal-to-cooperate-suggests-trump-personally-involved-in

 

November 9, 2021

At the Willard and the White House, the Jan. 6 Panel Widens Its Net

What went on at a five-star hotel near the White House the day before the riot could be a window into how a Trump-directed plot to upend the election ended in violence at the Capitol.

[Excerpts]

The committee wants to question Mr. Bannon about his presence at a meeting at the Willard on Jan. 5, when plans were discussed to try to block Congress’s formalization of the election the next day.

“Mr. Bannon was in the war room at the Willard on Jan. 6,” Representative Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming and the vice chairwoman of the committee, said during a recent hearing.

 

November 12, 2021

Steve Bannon indicted by federal grand jury

 https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/581352-steve-bannon-indicted-by-federal-grand-jury

A federal grand jury has indicted Steve Bannon, the one-time White House adviser to former President Trump, after he failed to comply with a subpoena from the committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

Bannon now faces two charges of contempt of Congress, one for failing to appear for an Oct. 14 deposition before the panel and another for refusal to provide documents.

 

November 19, 2021

Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson

[Excerpts:]

This morning, on the podcast of Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows went after McCarthy, suggesting that Trump should replace him. Then, on Trump loyalist Steve Bannon’s podcast, Meadows suggested that if the Republicans win control of the House of Representatives in next year’s elections, Trump should become Speaker of the House, which would drive Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “crazy.” Bannon suggested he could hold the position for 100 days and “sort things out” before running for president in 2024.

 

December 02, 2021

Steve Bannon’s Jan. 6 Legal Strategy: ‘Blowing Up the Whole System’

https://www.thedailybeast.com/steve-bannons-jan-6-legal-strategy-blowing-up-the-whole-system?
[Excerpt:]

But while most press coverage of this fight has hinged on the accusation that Bannon is trying to turn this into a media circus or spectacle, some legal scholars say the real intention is to harm the investigation itself. One called it “graymail,” a legal defense tactic that’s tantamount to blackmail and has since been outlawed.

“It’s not about trying the case in the media. It’s about making it costly for the committee to go after him,” McClanahan told The Daily Beast. “It is graymail, pure and simple: You can’t touch me, because if you do then I’ll spill your secrets.”

 

 December 14, 2021

what.matters@cnn.com

by Zachary B. Wolf

Taking over the next election at the very local level

While Democrats and a few Republicans search for accountability for the insurrection, Trump loyalists are thinking ahead, trying to get more control over ballots in the coming elections.

CNN has reported on a new generation of election officials who don’t believe in the results of the last presidential election.

Sara Murray and Jeremy Herb wrote: In Michigan, for instance, several new Republican appointees to county canvassing boards who have said they wouldn’t have certified the 2020 election are replacing the GOP members who did certify the election result. One appointee in Macomb County urged Trump after the election to invoke the Insurrection Act and suspend the Electoral College meeting to set up military tribunals to investigate claims of election fraud.

In Pennsylvania, there was a coordinated campaign to put Trump-friendly Republicans, including one who attended the January 6 rally, into election-related positions at the hyperlocal precinct level. They ran candidates and won races with just a few hundred votes.

Trump has personally endorsed secretary of state candidates in various states — meaning those who would play an important role in administering elections.

Trump ally Steve Bannon isn’t talking to the January 6 committee, but he’s openly planning to create a constitutional crisis — another one, that is, since Trump already tried to overturn one election.

“We’re taking over the Republican Party through the precinct committee strategy. We’re taking over all the elections,” Bannon said on an episode of his “War Room” podcast last month, according to Murray and Herb.

“We’re going to get to the bottom of three November and we’re going to decertify the electors,” he continued. “And you’re going to have a constitutional crisis. But you know what? We’re a big and tough country, and we can handle that, we’ll be able to handle that. We’ll get through that.” [Boldface added]

 

Steve Bannon was deplatformed. An obscure media mogul keeps him on the air.

‘War Room’ is at the center of a fledgling network monetizing what some employees saw as ‘Trump propaganda.’

Isaac Stanley-Becker

January 25, 2022

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/01/24/steve-bannon-war-room-real-americas-voice/

[Excerpts:]

Bannon has never shied away from idiosyncratic backers — whether hedge fund magnate Robert Mercer, whose family funded Breitbart, or exiled Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui.

But his latest patron may be his most unusual yet. Robert J. Sigg, whose criminal record includes a federal conviction for bank fraud, built his media business on weather news and outdoor sports. He has given large sums of money to Democrats.

A since-deleted online bio cites Sigg’s long record in advertising and television media, including at a firm conducting sales for Dish, whose revenue he helped expand by $250 million before leaving in 2004. A year later, Sigg pleaded guilty to bank fraud as part of what authorities described as a multimillion-dollar mortgage fraud scheme. Sigg falsely verified someone’s employment for a loan application and received a $1,000 check for his role, according to a plea agreement. He was ordered to pay restitution and sentenced to five years of supervised release.

By that time, Sigg had faced legal problems stretching back decades, according to Colorado court records, including drug, assault and harassment charges, as well as civil claims involving disputes over money. Between 1997 and 2010, he amassed more than $235,000 in unpaid federal taxes, according to a lien filed against him in January 2012 and withdrawn within weeks.

Later in 2012, Sigg’s family came under a public spotlight when his 17-year-old son, Austin, kidnapped, killed and dismembered a 10-year-old girl. He was sentenced to life in prison. The elder Sigg said at the time, “This horrible event is a tragedy for both the families, as well as the community.”

Bannon, a onetime chief strategist to President Donald Trump, said he was untroubled by his distributor’s criminal record.

Bannon’s wave appeared to be surging in 2019 — cresting at the U.S.-Mexico border, where his crowdfunding campaign promised to realize a trademark Trump initiative.

A year later, Bannon was indicted on charges of defrauding donors, accused of using nearly $1 million, from more than $25 million raised, for personal expenses. He pleaded not guilty and received a pardon from Trump.

Before drawing legal scrutiny, the effort gained the attention of Sigg’s network, Bannon said. At the time called America’s Voice News, the network had a website by August 2018, according to an archived version.

After Trump’s defeat on Nov. 3, 2020, the show became a clearinghouse for false claims of mass voter fraud, as Bannon birthed what he calls the “3 November movement,” turning allegiance to Trump’s assertion of election theft into a litmus test for Republican candidates. The day before the Jan. 6 riot, Bannon told viewers, “All hell is going to break loose tomorrow.”

Bannon’s message sometimes takes on religious tones, promising viewers “divine providence” if they “commit.” Among those commitments is patronizing My Pillow, whose CEO, Mike Lindell, is a leading purveyor of election falsehoods and among the sponsors of “War Room.”

A “War Room” appearance can move money to political causes. Caroline Wren, a Republican fundraiser, went on the show recently to argue that the GOP establishment had misused funds by neglecting legal challenges of the 2020 election. In the days after, she received more than 400 messages from viewers asking how to reorient their political contributions, she told The Post, including from several donors who had given more than $1 million supporting Trump’s reelection efforts.

Trump Adviser Peter Navarro Lays Out How He and Bannon Planned to Overturn Biden’s Electoral Win

“It started out perfectly. At 1 p.m., Gosar and Cruz did exactly what was expected of them…”

Jose Pagliery, Political Investigations Reporter

Updated Dec. 28, 2021

https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-advisor-peter-navarro-lays-out-how-he-and-steve-bannon-planned-to-overturn-bidens-electoral-win

A former Trump White House official says he and right-wing provocateur Steve Bannon were actually behind the last-ditch coordinated effort by rogue Republicans in Congress to halt certification of the 2020 election results and keep President Donald Trump in power earlier this year, in a plan dubbed the “Green Bay Sweep.”

In his recently published memoir, Peter Navarro, then-President Donald Trump’s trade adviser, details how he stayed in close contact with Bannon as they put the Green Bay Sweep in motion with help from members of Congress loyal to the cause.

Bannon Is Using an FBI Interview to Undermine the Jan. 6 Panel

Steve Bannon is trying to use the Department of Justice’s strategy against the Jan. 6 committee to argue it has no authority to subpoena him.

Woodward and Bernstein thought Nixon defined corruption. Then came Trump.

[Excerpts]

After Election Day, Trump began another, more deadly assault on the electoral process.

“JANUARY SIXTH, SEE YOU IN DC!” he tweeted on Dec. 30, 2020, from Mar-a-Lago, where he was spending the holidays.

Longtime chief strategist Steve Bannon, who had been in and out of Trump’s favor, picked up the thread in a phone conversation with Trump that same day.

“You’ve got to return to Washington and make a dramatic return today,” Bannon told him, according to reporting in Woodward and Robert Costa’s book, “Peril.”

“You’ve got to call Pence off the f—ing ski slopes and get him back here today. This is a crisis,” Bannon said, referring to the vice president, who was vacationing in Vail, Colo.

“We’re going to bury Biden on January 6th,” Bannon said.

If Republicans could cast enough of a shadow on Biden’s victory on Jan. 6, Bannon said, it would be hard for him to govern. Millions of Americans would consider him illegitimate.

“We are going to kill it in the crib. Kill the Biden presidency in the crib,” Bannon said.

Trump’s attack on Biden’s legitimacy included a stream of public statements, legal deceptions and a constant focus on disruption of the Jan. 6 certification in Congress.

Election fraud claims from 2020 are widespread on talk radio, contributing to the belief that the midterm results cannot be trusted.

Stuart Thompson writes about online information flows.

[Excerpts:]

November’s midterm elections are still months away, but to many conservative commentators, the fix is already in. Democrats have cheated before, they say, and they will cheat again.

Never mind that the claims are false.

In Lafayette, La., Carol Ross, host of “The Ross Report,” questioned how Democrats could win a presidential election again after a tumultuous few years in power. “They’re going to have to cheat again,” she said. “You know that. There will be rampant cheating.”

In Greenville, S.C., Charlie James, a host on 106.3 WORD, read from a blog post arguing that “the Democrats are going to lose a majority during the midterm elections unless they’re able to cheat in a massive wide-scale way.”

And on WJFN in Virginia, Stephen K. Bannon, the erstwhile adviser to former President Donald J. Trump who was indicted for refusing to comply with subpoenas issued by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, summed it up this way: “If Democrats don’t cheat, they don’t win.”

Mr. Trump introduced the nation to a flurry of false claims about widespread voter fraud after his electoral loss in 2020. The extent of his efforts has been outlined extensively in the past couple of weeks during the hearings on the Jan. 6 Capitol riot — including a speech that day in which he falsely said Democrats changed voting laws “because they want to cheat.”

Republican politicians and cable outlets like Fox News have carried the torch for Mr. Trump’s conspiracy theories ever since. But the loudest and most consistent booster of these unfounded claims has been talk radio, where conservative hosts reduce the jumble of false voter fraud theories into a two-word mantra: “Democrats cheat.”

Radio remains perhaps the most influential conduit for right-wing thought, despite the rise of podcasts and social media. Tens of millions of people nationwide, especially older Americans and blue-collar workers, listen to it regularly. Misinformation experts warn that talk radio channels, many of which air political commentary 24 hours a day, receive far too little scrutiny compared with other mass media. Talk radio is also uniquely difficult to analyze and harder to moderate, because the on-air musings from hosts usually disappear over the airwaves in an instant.

“Liberals or even most moderates never listen to it, they don’t pay attention to it, they don’t see it, they don’t hear it,” said Lewis A. Friedland, a professor who studies radio at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “So you don’t know it exists, you don’t know how widespread and how powerful it really is.” In Wisconsin, he said, local radio stations play “extreme right-wing propaganda” five or six hours a day.

Steve Bannon found guilty in Jan. 6 contempt of Congress trial

The outspoken Trump loyalist was convicted of ignoring a subpoena from the House panel investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol

Steve Bannon: International Seditionist

[Excerpts:]

 Bannon, after all, has long reveled in posing as a revolutionary and styling himself as a Leninist.

“Lenin,” he told historian Ronald Radosh in 2013, “wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.”

Since then, his ambitions have grown, and now he has taken his Coups R Us movement onto the global stage.

None of this requires speculation or investigative reporting, because Bannon is doing it all in broad daylight, in plain sight, with the bravado of a man who apparently thinks himself legally untouchable. (Since he holds a presidential pardon for one crime, and still walks free from another, his attitude does, perhaps, have some basis in fact.)

He enjoyed what happened here [The Jan. 6th Capitol insurrection] so much that he decided to export it to Brazil. This is Bannon in November after that country’s proto-fascist president was defeated for re-election:

Twitter avatar for @RonFilipkowski

Ron Filipkowski @RonFilipkowski
Bannon is attempting to instigate a coup in Brazil. Eduardo Bolsonaro puts out a video of Steve Bannon this morning, where Bannon tells them their election was stolen and praises people protesting in the streets: “It’s going to be very interesting to see how that plays out.”

Bannon’s fingerprints are all over what happened next. Last November, the Wapo reported “Trump aides Bannon, Miller advising the Bolsonaros on next steps.”

Brazilian congressman Eduardo Bolsonaro, the president’s son, has visited Florida since the Oct. 30 vote, meeting Trump at Mar-a-Lago and strategizing with other political allies by phone.

He spoke with former Trump strategist Stephen K. Bannon, who was in Arizona assisting the campaign of GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, about the power of the pro-Bolsonaro protests and potential challenges to the Brazilian election results, Bannon said. He lunched in South Florida with former Trump campaign spokesman Jason Miller, now CEO of the social media company Gettr, and discussed online censorship and free speech, Miller said.

“What’s happening in Brazil is a world event,” Bannon told The Post. “The people are saying they’ve been grossly disenfranchised.”

Even as he pushed Trump’s Big Lie and promoted domestic election deniers like Kari Lake and MTG, Bannon kept his focus on Brazil.

Across several episodes of his podcast and in social media posts, he and his guests stoked up allegations of a “stolen election” and shadowy forces. He promoted the hashtag #BrazilianSpring, and continued to encourage opposition even after Mr Bolsonaro himself appeared to accept the results.

Bannon was explicit about his business plan.

“[The movement] has moved beyond the Bolsonaros in the way that in the U.S. it has moved beyond Trump,” he boasted.

Lest you imagine that Bannon was talking about peaceful, nonviolent protests, Bannon celebrated this week’s rampage of destruction in South America’s largest country. After mobs of rioters attacked government buildings this week, Bannon posted pictures of the rioters, calling them “Brazilian Freedom Fighters.”

While most of the world condemned the violence, Bannon cheered on the attack in multiple posts on Gettr. “Lula stole the Election… Brazilians know this,” he wrote on one post after another.

“The Criminal Atheistic Marxist Lula stole the Election and the Brazilians know this,” Bannon wrote, “now see Lula crackdown like all Communist dictators.”

 

 

“Voting is the most basic right in our democracy, but too many people are locked out of the process.”

— Brennan Center for Justice