Legal consultants rapidly shed doubt on the worth and credibility of right-wing strategist Steve Bannon agreeing to testify earlier than the House choose committee investigating the January 6, 2021, assault in opposition to the U.S. Capitol.
News first broke Sunday that Trump in a Saturday letter waived govt privilege he had claimed over Bannon’s testimony. The former Trump administration official’s lawyer additionally despatched a letter to the committee saying that his shopper is “willing to, and indeed prefers, to testify at your public hearing.”
The information was seen as a big reversal, as Bannon has been a harsh critic of the House choose committee as he continues to be a staunch defender of the ex-president.
Last yr, he was subpoenaed by the investigators, however refused to conform. In November, Bannon was indicted by a grand jury convened by the Justice Department for contempt of Congress after a legal referral was accepted in a majority vote by the complete House chamber. A federal choose final month declined to dismiss the contempt expenses, so the previous Trump adviser is headed to trial later this month.
In response to the information, authorized consultants rapidly weighed in. Some described Bannon’s resolution as a “gimmick” or a “ploy.”
“I smell a gimmick to provide a last-ditch defense in Bannon’s criminal case and poison the well in the Jan 6 investigation. It’s the perfect two-fer!” Barb McQuade, a regulation professor on the University of Michigan, wrote on Twitter, retweeting a put up that included the letter from Trump, and the opposite that was addressed to the committee.
“Bannon wants his own special treatment from the January 6 committee—going straight to a public hearing where he can grandstand and refuse to answer questions,” Tristan Snell, a lawyer and the founding father of Main Street regulation agency, wrote in a tweet. “Wrong. He must be treated as any other witness: private hearing first to determine if he’s truly cooperative.”
A Steve Bannon ‘Ploy’
Glenn Kirschner, a former federal prosecutor, informed MSNBC’s The Sunday Show that he believed Bannon’s resolution was a “ploy” to assist his protection in opposition to the contempt of Congress expenses.
“This whole thing feels like a ploy,” Kirschner assessed. “Why? Because he’s going to claim, ‘Oh well, look, now I have dispensation. I have a waiver from Donald Trump. That’s why I couldn’t testify previously. That’s why I have a legal defense to the contempt of Congress charge.'”
Kirschner dismissed the letters as “nonsense” and a “charade.”
Joyce Alene White Vance, a former district lawyer and a professor on the University of Alabama School of Law, wrote on Twitter that she was skeptical Bannon’s supply was made in “good faith.”
“Given Bannon’s clear statements over time that he wants to burn all of government down there is no reason to treat this like a good faith offer. As with all other witnesses, he should have to speak privately with the committee, under oath, first to test his truthfulness,” she wrote. “The Cmte can’t evaluate whether Bannon has anything to offer that is worth consuming limited hearing time until they speak with him. Questioners need to consider whether his testimony is relevant, new (or just cumulative) & test his credibility. Doesn’t deserve any favors.”
In a follow-up put up on Sunday, McQuade contended that the January 6 committee ought to reject Bannon’s supply.
“J6C should tell him too late, let DOJ convict him at trial for contempt, and then DOJ can compel his testimony. Statute provides immunity from using his own statements against him, but that’s not giving up much. He can still be prosecuted for his role in scheme,” she wrote.
Representative Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat who serves on the committee, informed CNN stated that she would “expect” Bannon will testify after the committee obtained the letter, including that the committee would need him to testify behind closed doorways, as has been the case with earlier witnesses.
“We got the letter around midnight from his lawyer saying that he would testify, and we have wanted him to testify,” Lofgren informed CNN on Sunday. “So the committee, of course, has not yet had a chance to discuss it, but I expect that we will be hearing from him. And there are many questions that we have for him.”
In Trump’s letter to Bannon waiving privilege, he wrote: “When you first received the subpoena to testify and provide documents, I invoked executive privilege. However, I watched how unfairly you and others have been treated, having to spend vast amounts of money on legal fees and all of the trauma you must be going through for the love of your country and out of respect for the office of the president.”
Many authorized consultants have lengthy dismissed the concept Trump may legitimately declare privilege over Bannon’s testimony. Although Bannon served because the chief govt of Trump’s 2016 marketing campaign and as a White House official, he left the Trump administration in August 2017. As a outcome, all of the efforts to overturn the 2020 election outcomes and the occasions of January 6 occurred when Bannon was a personal citizen.
Correction July 9 at 6:16 p.m. ET: A earlier model of this text incorrectly listed one of many authorized consultants names as simply Joyce Alene. It was corrected to Joyce Alene White Vance.