Steve Bannon Is Turning Trial Around On FBI

( The Justice Department has scrutinized casual conversations between Steve Bannon and his counsel. They’ve weaponized his candor and turned him into a witness against himself. The right-wing provocateur is using the FBI interviews to undermine the Jan. 6 Committee.

This week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) weighed in on the criminal case against Bannon for “contempt of Congress,” with attorneys seeking permission to make some clarifications to the federal court hearing the case. Pelosi wants to defend the committee’s congressional subpoena, which Bannon disobeyed by refusing to answer questions regarding his participation in last year’s uprising.

The committee is again debating whether it can legally issue subpoenas, as the signature of a ranking member is required for congressional subpoena power. Bannon’s lawyers argue that the vice-chair of the Jan. 6 committee, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), does not count because Democrats, not Republicans, appointed her.

The top House counsel has drafted a legal document proving Cheney’s ranking.

Attorney Douglas Letter argued that Rep. Cheney is the senior ranking minority member since she was the first minority party member assigned to the select committee.
Bannon’s attorneys are using something attorney Douglas Letter said to the FBI on Nov. 2, 2021.

An FBI account of the interview with three special agents says, “The select committee was constituted by the House speaker and had no majority or ranking members. Since the select committee includes a chair and a vice-chair, there are no restrictions for the vice-chair as there would be for a ranking member.”

Bannon attorney David Schoen said that the contrast undermines the subpoena’s legality. Mr. Letter talking to FBI special agents is a felony in itself.

Schoen said that Letter claims that there is no ranking minority member on the committee in that interview. He was correct then. No minority ranks high. That’s a term of art. He knows what that means.

In March, the GOP sued Pelosi to prevent the Jan. 6 committee’s investigation subpoenas, citing a missing ranking minority member. U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Kelly rejected the relevant claims. “The court must defer to the select committee’s judgment,” he said. As a lower-level federal court judge, his opinion is not binding, but it illustrates that this strategy is risky.

This lawsuit never mentioned Letter’s contradicting FBI 302 interview reports. Bannon’s defense team will exploit the disparity if he does.

Pelosi’s comments on Tuesday did not address the disparity. Instead, it praised the DOJ for “moving to hold Bannon responsible for his obvious violation of a legitimate subpoena.”

Pelosi said by confronting Bannon’s bogus assertions in court, the House defends its constitutional ability to set its own rules and practices.