Steve Bannon’s Grand Jury Secrets

In preparation for several other posts, I want to follow up on this post — Steve Bannon’s 302 of Laughter and Forgetting — and lay out what we know of Bannon’s other testimony to Mueller.

I said in that post there are four known Bannon interviews.

  • February 12, 2018 (26 pages)
  • February 14, 2018 (37 pages)
  • October 26, 2018 (16 pages; the interview list lists three different interviews, but they are likely just copies of the same one)
  • January 18, 2019 (4 pages)

But that’s not right. Bannon was asked by Stone lawyer Robert Buschel in cross-examination at the Roger Stone trial whether he had “sat down with” prosecutors recently.

Q. You just gave an interview in preparation for your testimony today, right, with the government, with the Department of Justice?

A. What do you mean, an interview?

Q. Did you sit down with them recently?

A. Yes.

So one of the six 302s that post-date the end of the Mueller investigation must be from Bannon (at least two are presumably Randy Credico, there were two other non-governmental witnesses who testified, Rick Gates and Margaret Kunstler, and Andrew Miller was flown into DC to testify but did not ultimately do so).

The government got Amy Berman Jackson to approve the partial redaction of the grand jury transcript of one witness on August 26, 2019. That may well be Bannon (in which case his interview must have been on July 26, 2019), because as I’ll explain, prosecutors had to use his grand jury testimony to get him to adhere to his previously sworn testimony.

Before I get there, consider that the government is still withholding Bannon’s first interview report, from February 12, 2018 (I suspect, based on the unredacted content of the February 14, 2018 one, that that first one focuses on Trump’s obstruction). As I laid out in my “Laughter and Forgetting” post, Bannon clearly shaded the truth significantly in his February 14 one.

On October 26, 2018, we know Bannon admitted to details about the WikiLeaks dump that he hadn’t before, most notably an October 4, 2016 email from his non-campaign “arc-ent” email (which he described in his February 14 testimony) asking Stone why Assange hadn’t released emails as promised that day, because in the week after his testimony he and Stone floated competing half-truths and lies on the pages of the WaPo, NYT, and DailyCaller.

But Bannon likely still didn’t tell the full truth on October 26, because on his next known interview, January 18, 2019 (so just days before Stone’s arrest), he signed a proffer with Mueller covering that day’s interview and an appearance the same day before the grand jury. The government has released the proffer but not the actual interview. That means that, apparently for the first time in hours and hours of testimony, Bannon’s competent lawyers either expressed concern about his legal exposure or that he had lied in a past interview and Mueller was using that to finally get the truth out of him.

There were two topics in Bannon’s testimony that prosecutor Michael Marando used to get Bannon to adhere to the sworn testimony he was willing to give in a secret grand jury. First (though it came second in his testimony), that he regarded Stone as the campaign’s access point to WikiLeaks.

Q. While you were CEO of the Trump campaign, who, if anyone, was the campaign’s access point to WikiLeaks?

A. The campaign’s access point?

Q. Yes.

A. I don’t think we had one.

Q. I want to refer back to Government’s Exhibit 209 that’s in front of you. This is the same grand jury transcript that I showed you before, correct? Am I correct?

A. Yes.

Q. Okay, this is your testimony in the grand jury. This was the Robert Mueller grand jury, correct?

A. Yes.

Q. Now, I want you to turn to page 14, line 4. I’m going to read line 4 through 8 on page 14. And you’re asked, “And just within the campaign, who was the access point to WikiLeaks?”

And you responded, “I think it was generally believed that the access point or potential access point to WikiLeaks and to Julian Assange would be Roger Stone.”

Did I read that correctly?

A. That’s correct.

Q. And did you, at that time, did you personally believe or you personally view Roger Stone as the access point between Trump campaign and WikiLeaks?

A. Yes.

This what the testimony where Buschel described Bannon reversing his prior testimony in his more recent interview.

Q. And did they ask you that precise question, whether you thought Roger Stone was an access point to WikiLeaks?

A. I think they asked me the exact question they just asked me a few minutes ago.

Q. And you gave a different answer than you just gave right now, didn’t you? You said that Roger Stone — you and the Trump campaign did not view Mr. Stone as an access point between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks.

A. The campaign had no — had no official access to WikiLeaks or to Julian Assange, but Roger would be considered, if we needed an access point, an access point because he had implied or told me that he had a relationship with WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.

In addition, Bannon had to be forced to adhere to his grand jury testimony describing that Stone had boasted of his relationship with Julian Assange going back months before Bannon joined the campaign on August 14, 2016.

Q. Does that date sound like the time that — I’m sorry. January 18th, 2019. My apologies. Did you testify on January 18th, 2019?

A. I have no idea.

Q. Does that sound correct?

A. Yes.

Q. Now, there were prosecutors that were present there, correct?

A. They were, yes.

Q. Andrew Goldstein, does that sound correct?

A. Yes.

Q. And you were the witness that was there, correct?

A. Yes.

Q. There was a court reporter that was taking down everything you said, correct?

A. That’s correct.

Q. And there were grand jurors there; isn’t that right?

A. That’s correct.

Q. You took an oath — the defendant, Mr. Stone, was not there; is that right?

A. That’s correct.

Q. You took an oath to tell the truth; isn’t that right?

A. That’s correct.

Q. And the prosecutor asked you a number of questions; isn’t that right?

A. That’s correct.

Q. But before he asked you any questions, he advised you of your rights as a witness; is that correct?

A. That’s correct.

Q. All right. And he told you that if you failed to tell the truth before the grand jury, you could be charged with perjury; isn’t that right?

A. That’s correct.

Q. And you told the grand jury that you understood that right; isn’t that correct?

A. That’s correct.

Q. I want to turn to page 7, if you can. Let me know when you’re on page 7.

A. I’m at page 7.

Q. Line 15?

A. Yes.

Q. So you were asked at page 7, line 15, “And when you had private conversations with him about his connection to Julian Assange, approximately how far in advance of your joining the campaign did that conversation take place?”

And you responded, “Oh, I think the first time it was months before, but I think it all the way led up to right before I joined the campaign. It was something he would, I think, frequently mention or talk about when we talked about other things.”

Did I read that correctly?

A. That’s correct.

Q. All right. Now, in any of your conversations with Mr. Stone, did he ever brag to you about his connections to Assange?

A. I wouldn’t call it bragging, but maybe boasting, I guess the difference between bragging and boasting, but he would mention it.

Q. What do you mean by “boast”?

A. That he had a relationship with WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.

As noted, one witness — and Bannon is the only witness who had to be steered using a grand jury transcript — had selected bits of his grand jury released to Stone (though Amy Berman Jackson ultimately did not let prosecutors send the transcript to the grand jury).

That suggests there are other parts of that grand jury transcript in which he admitted to things he has otherwise tried to shade.

49 replies
  1. P J Evans says:

    My assumption in all this has been that everyone involved with Trmp is lying about at least one thing that would otherwise get them locked up.

  2. SomeGuyInMaine says:

    Drip. Drip. Drip.

    The most interesting part to me is how Bannon seems much more sophisticated at obfuscation and misleading than many — using multiple half truths and lies to muddy the waters. He’s dangerous.

    This is why docs and contemporaneous notes are so important

  3. orionATL says:

    well, if stone had familiar access to assange, and stone had familiar and complete access to trump thru multiple trump phone numbers, and if campaign ceo bannon had had chats with stone over time about assange, then it seems reasonable to conclude that trump knew about the potential for wikileaks to do a dump of stolen dem emails. indeed, it seems likely that the trump campaign ordered up one or more dumps with a focus on felicitous timing.

    and of course assange and wikileaks had to have had access to the russian gru and the emails they stole.

    there you have it – a long-range (in terms of time and geography) conspiracy to win the american presidency in 2016.

    • Robbie Wallin says:

      Unless memory fails me, one of those dumps came just hours after the “grab them by the pussy” tape was released — so, most excellent timing.

  4. drouse says:

    It’s like a long drawn out game of Whack-a-mole. Here we have a pair of elderly ratfuckers getting their long overdue comeuppance and there is always a new generation coming up behind. Really, it’s the only reason for the College Republicans to exist. Our system is really poorly equipped to with people like this and the current capability is crumbling in the face of modern disinformation techniques.

  5. Jenny says:

    Thank you Marcy.
    Bragging boasting, boasting bragging Bannon quotes:

    “I’m a Leninist. Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal, too.”

    “Fear is a good thing. Fear is going to lead you to take action.”

    “Darkness is good. Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That’s power.”


    “Birth control makes women unattractive and crazy.”

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Bannon is a reverse Leninist. His does not want a dictatorship of the proletariat, but of an oligarchy. He cloaks his anarchism in bullshit, the way Trump attempts to hide his pathology in marketing jargon.

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Meanwhile, the Democrats race to yank defeat from the jaws of victory. Appropriate for Ground Hog Day:

    “John Kerry discussed 2020 run to stop Sanders and save [sic] Democrats.”

    The DNC apparently can perform the anatomically impossible act Dick Cheney was fond of telling his critics to do. Has no one told the DNC what happened last time Mr. Kerry was on the ticket?

    The DNC has bent over backwards to accommodate a billionaire. It’s worked hard to prevent progressives from entering primaries or establish long-term campaign strategies. It is pushing the well past his sell-by date Joe Biden, and hoping that Buttigieg will keep his McKinsey contacts shelling out dough. Next, they’ll bring Mr. Obama back to rouse the donor class and propose Hillary as his running mate.

    After removing Trump, the healthiest thing the Democrats could do is disband the DNC and start over. If banksters and other oligarchs want to rule, let them start their own party rather than turn the Dems into a zombie party of the politically undead.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      But the distraction, wasted energy, and misspent millions! Good indication of their priorities. Like the Republicans but unlike the progressives, their priority is money over people.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        That comment was in the cited Guardian article, swallowed by the other details about a venture capitalist spending millions to help him substitute for the paid positions Kerry would have to give up.

        The basic theme, though, is bringing out the multi-millionaire zombies to defeat a progressive candidate, in order to stop, Kerry’s words, “the possibility of Bernie Sanders taking down the Democratic party – down whole.”

        • P J Evans says:

          he wasn’t my first choice in 2004, and now I think he’s too conservative, though he’d probably get more votes from the “independents” who normally vote R.

        • Valley girl says:

          Bernie would indeed take down the Democratic establishment and that would be a very, very good thing.

          • vicks says:

            I’m not seeing how Bernie can beat Trump.
            Nothing personal, just strategically.
            I think he and Trump are equally divisive and Bernie would end up getting the votes of his fans and democrats who are committed to voting for a democrat no matter the candidate, but after that, he and trump would split the independents and Bernie would only get the moderate republicans that hated Trump enough to vote for a “democratic socialist”
            Then of course you have the electoral college thing.
            I have talked to at least a dozen republicans that say they “could” vote
            for Biden (or stay home) but when I mention Bernie and they change their tone.
            I’m not pitching Biden, I just think common sense says the lane he is in has the best shot of winning,
            How many people in 2016 said they voted for Trump because they didn’t want HILLARY! to win?
            I say let’s not do that again.

              • Valley girl says:

                Oh for an edit button. I didn’t intend to post the vid. in the thread, just the addy.
                https:// www.

                • vicks says:

                  Like I said I’m not advocating for Biden, just the boring lane for 2020.
                  Trump won partially because he and Russia were able to spin Hillary into Satan by election day.
                  I’m suggesting there could be a huge downside to handing Trump an opponent that is already the most divisive candidate in the field, and that is BEFORE the first Bernie video comes out connecting socialism to satan.
                  I don’t have a particular candidate in mind, I just think this country is f’d if we have ANOTHER election that with the exception of Bernie’s and Trump’s bases, would force voters to pick their poison.
                  It won’t take a revolutionary candidate to take out the garbage Trump brought into the White House. It just takes doing everything in our power to make sure the good guys win.

                • earlofhuntingdon says:

                  If you don’t like division, politics is not your game. Nominating contests are intended to be divisive. It’s a feature, not a bug, designed to help voters distinguish between candidates, to help them tell who is most likely to do what they say.

                  Whoever wins the nod, all of America should stand behind her or him. Donald Trump is the divisive, corrupt force – he and the entire party that stands behind him. He will act even more corruptly over the next twelve months. That is the undesirable divisiveness harming America.

                  • Vicks says:

                    I will continue to suggest this may not the time to advocate or rely on traditional politics.
                    Yes, all of America “should” stand behind whichever candidate ends up winning the democratic nomination, but since it’s never happened before, I think it’s important to address any obstacles that could keep it from happening in 2020.
                    IMHO Even with the Trump factor, some may consider voting for “whichever” candidate wins the democratic nomination an unreasonable ask.
                    It makes sense to acknowledge that HOW unreasonable will be directly related to who the candidate it.

            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              Polls show that any of the top four or five Dems could beat Trump.

              The outcome depends on how much Trump cheats, and how many establishment Dems work against Bernie after his nomination – in order to save the Dems, in Kerry’s formulation, from Bernie taking them down. Nice self-fulfilling prophecy John boy.

              • Valley girl says:

                Ohio- 2004. SoS Kenneth Blackwell. Kerry kept hinting, loudly (after conceding Ohio) that he would muster a suit to challenge the Ohio results, and collected $ for that But s.o.m.e.h.o.w he never got around to challenging the Ohio result. He and campaign were talking out of both sides of their mouth. I was paying close attention. That pegged Kerry for me.

              • Vicks says:

                Lord HuntingDon
                I never thought I’d ever suggest people do anything but go all in for a candidate who’s platform inspires them.
                However “Could beat Trump” are words that should terrify Americans.

                • Eureka says:

                  Fear-based decisions generally don’t work out so well. Consider all of the messes we are in (and not out of) now.

            • Michael Schmitt says:

              Yes, I agree. Mike in Chicago. I will be going up to Wisconsin like years before when I campaigned for Bryce and Obama. God willing we have a winning candidate.

      • MB says:

        It’s a walk-back from a private conversation that leaked. He has a board position on Bank of America which he would have to give up before running, and like Hillary in 2015, he would also have to give up highly-paid speaking events to his donors’ audiences.

    • orionATL says:

      Senator Sanders is a professional politician, just like biden, buttiegieg, klobuchar, both Clintons, Bloomberg, the kennedy’s, etc., but Sanders is not a democrat.

      former maryland governor michael o’malley has the best take on Sanders and the menace he represents for the democratic party that i have read:

      from my standpoint a key problem with sanders is that he is not a leader of people. at best he is an organizer, like a political or union organizer.

      further, sanders has misstated the key economic/social problem in our society in the last 40 years – the problem is not the enormous disparity in incomes, it is that american corporations and their billionaire offspring have acquired disproportionate power in the american political system. a consequence is a network of corporate-sponsored, corporation-favoring laws that have left 10 of millions of americans stuck in a wage and income whirlpool, trapped by the hydraulics of legal restrictions, poor educational opportunities, and work opportunities shifting away from them.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Your comment suggests that economic disparity and lack of social justice are not outcomes of the same oligarchic rule.

        Given its establishment wing, which is beholden to the malefactors you identify, it seems a good thing that Bernie is not, in your words, a Democrat. But if you don’t like him, which change agent whom you would call a Democrat do you suggest?

        • orionATL says:

          my comment suggests no such thing.

          further, my comment about sanders being a professional politician is a warning that he is just that; he is no joan-of-arc.

          study what sanders has done as a “change agent” in vermont in that 30+ stretch of time, and you will see very little of change agent and very much of a savvy politician tuned in to getting re-elected. nothing wrong with that, we need politicians, but as “change agent” sanders is more like the pied piper than a savior.

          as for my preferred democratic candidate, i made that clear here months ago – elizabeth warren. warren has the combination of intellect and active caring that i consider critical to an american leader at this point in our history. sanders comes across as a welll-intentioned man of rhetoric having neither.

          from my viewpoint, biden and sanders are leading the democratic nomination competition due principally to name recognition. it is amazing how little attention is paid to this critical variable. in addition, sanders has an organization left over from 2016 which is surely critical to his present success.

          as for the much talked about electability issue, that is really a silly debate now. campaigns are fragile things. trump could continue to descend into madness, but some happenstance, some national or international emergency this fall, might serve to get him re-elected despite his manifest deficiencies.

          • P J Evans says:

            To me, Sanders is a back-bench senator with a lot of name recognition due mostly to 2016.
            I’m not impressed with Biden either.

      • Vicks says:

        I’m not sure Bernie misstated anything?
        It’s cause and affect.
        Far too many of our lawmakers are working at the pleasure of those in the corporate world.
        The bullshit ways that these already fat cats can now increase their investment in a candidate or party is what is behind the resistance to wage increases.
        “Raising the minimum wage will hurt the economy”. Seriously, they say the with a straight face
        Just as problematic is the filthy practice of rolling back regulations designed to keep our beautiful country and its people safe form third world type of pillaging and exploitation.
        You aren’t going to solve the problem with symbolic gestures like taxing billionaires and wiping out student debt.

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Meanwhile, if Sen. Lamar Alexander thinks Donald Trump is so stupid, he could not have the requisite intent to commit a crime –

    and is too stupid to call the Attorney General instead of his personal lawyer to investigate one (Biden & Burisma [sic]) –

    then He.Is.Too,Stupid.To.Remain.President. QED.

    • P J Evans says:

      I can’t figure out how they can stop short of that extremely obvious conclusion, unless they’re at least as stupid – in which case they’re not qualified for office, either.

    • Jenny says:

      Republicans either way, reward bad behavior:
      He didn’t do it.
      He did it, just not impeachable.
      He did it, impeachable but will not remove him.

      “I think he shouldn’t have done it,” Alexander said of Trump conditioning U.S. military aid on Ukraine investigating political rival Joe Biden. “I think it was wrong. Inappropriate was the way I’d say ― improper, crossing the line.”

      Shoulda, coulda, woulda. He did it!

  8. Vinnie Gambone says:

    It is not too soon to be asking ourselves what October surprise is now in the works. The Russian hack of Burisma was announced for a reason. Lo and behold, we “found” new evidence that Biden, Warren, Pete, and Sanders have blind trust of Burisma stock. They are definitely working on something. What? They have a bombshell schedule. Barr’s Durham investigation won’t come up short. There will be a last minute equivalent of Comey announcing they are reopening the investigation to Hilary’s emails.

    What has not been said, but what is strongly implied, is that the mission has not been just to “find” dirt on Biden, it is plainly to “concoct” something like the black ledger, that’s what’s coming. Watch. There are a lot bright minds here. What might they be working on? And who, exactly, might the new “they” be? The 2016 rat fucker team ain’t exactly full strength any more.

      • Hika says:

        The rat-fers need only be smarter than the median American voter. How do reckon they’ll go? Unless they are countered effectively by smarter, digitally literate people 21 Jan. 2021 may not be such a good day.

        • timbo says:

          No. They only need care about the outcome of the election more than the median voter. Public opinion doesn’t typically come from nowhere. What campaign managers, dirty tricksters, etc, do is they care more than the average person about what an elections outcome is, about what makes people vote or not vote for a particular candidate, etc. What these players do is that they actually try to make things happen that effect outcomes.

  9. Savage Librarian says:

    Well, I guess maybe we can call this taking it to the Banks. Hmm. I wonder if we can trade out this 5 letter name for any others. Stone, maybe? Or maybe not…

    “Leak: Man Who Bankrolled Brexit Boasted of WikiLeaks Backchannel” – Nico Hines

    “The man who bankrolled the campaign for Britain to quit the European Union boasted about a backchannel to WikiLeaks after Brexit leader Nigel Farage’s secret meeting with Julian Assange at the Ecuadorean embassy in London, according to private Twitter messages that have been leaked online.”

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