Steve Bannon, 30 Second Man

Predictably, multiple outlets are following the WaPo in serving as Steve Bannon’s chumps. The Guardian, CNN, and NYT reported Bannon’s false claims that the reason he blew off the January 6 Committee subpoena last year was because of Executive Privilege as if they were true.

So I’d like to point out another way in which these outlets have been manipulated by Bannon.

Back on June 29 (less than two weeks ago), Bannon moved to delay his trial until October, claiming — as many other accused January 6 criminals have — that publicity associated with the January 6 Committee makes it impossible to get a fair trial. It was a reasonable claim for the Proud Boys to make. But thus far, Bannon has no more figured in the hearings than other passing faces in the mob.

Indeed, DOJ mocked Bannon’s claim, noting that he had been mentioned just twice in more than fourteen hours of hearings, one of which was just a description that he had blown off the Committee subpoena.

To date, the Committee has held seven hearings, spanning more than 14 hours in total.1 The Defendant was not mentioned at all during five of them, and was featured only in passing in the Committee’s June 9 and June 21, 2022, hearings—for a combined total of less than 30 seconds. These are the two instances that the Defendant cites in his brief, couching them in the language of “for instance,” and “[a]nother example,” ECF No. 88 at 11, to suggest that they are just two of many more such instances, when in fact they are the only ones.

But a closer look even at these two brief mentions of the Defendant by the Committee demonstrate that they do not call prejudicial attention toward the Defendant with respect to his criminal trial, and are nothing like the dramatic cases that the Defendant attempts to marshal in support of his motion. First, in its June 9, 2022, hearing, the Committee’s ranking minority member, Rep. Liz Cheney, mentioned the Defendant’s podcast as part of her opening statement. In particular, Rep. Cheney said, “And on the evening of January 5th, the President’s close advisor, Steve Bannon, said this on his podcast.” The Committee then played a clip of the Defendant speaking three sentences on his own media program—“All Hell is going to break lose tomorrow. Just understand this. All Hell is going to break loose tomorrow”—without further commentary. See June 9, 2022, Hearing, at 51:42-52:01.2 Rep. Cheney’s neutral introduction to the Defendant’s own statement and the Defendant’s statement include no reference to the crimes for which the Defendant has been charged or commentary on the Defendant’s commission of the charged offense. And at the Committee’s hearing on June 21, 2022, as part of her concluding comments during a hearing that spanned nearly three hours on topics wholly unrelated to the Defendant, Rep. Cheney said, “Others, like Steve Bannon and Peter Navarro, simply refused to comply with lawful subpoenas. And they have been indicted.” June 21, 2022, Hearing at 2:44:30-2:44:37.3 The Defendant makes no argument about how this factual statement regarding his non-compliance and his subsequent indictment will result in the potential jury being “so aroused against” him that he will not receive a fair trial. Haldeman, 559 F.2d at 62.

In fourteen hours of hearings, Bannon merited no more than thirty seconds of attention.

Presciently, DOJ noted that no one but Steve Bannon and his lawyers are talking about Steve Bannon.

Further, while the Defendant’s motion describes media coverage of the Committee’s hearings overall, the Defendant does not cite a single media article covering the Committee’s hearing that mention the Defendant. That is because there are none. In fact, the Defendant and his attorneys have caused far more pretrial publicity about this case than the Committee hearings have by holding press conferences at the courthouse and speaking with reporters.

Bannon responded on July 6, just four days ago, presenting entirely irrelevant data that counted how many times his name has shown up in the press, then attributing all of that to the Committee, and not his own big mouth.

Then he opened his own big mouth and caused what he claims he’s trying hard to avoid: a press torrent of mostly inaccurate reporting.

Two weeks ago, Steve Bannon needed to be something more than a thirty second man in hopes of delaying his trial. And multiple outlets jumped to do his bidding.

55 replies
  1. Ginevra diBenci says:

    At least WaPo chose not to quote, without comment, Trump’s phrasing about the “unselect committee” from his letter to Bannon, as Broadwater and Haberman did in the Times.

    But yeah, they are making your point.

  2. Peterr says:

    I like the way the DOJ quietly twists the knife at the end of the quote above. “Haldeman, 559 F.2d at 62.”

    As one might guess from the trial title in that citation, we’re in Watergate territory here. In the statement of facts given by the appellate court, they write on p. 52:

    In the early morning hours of June 17, 1972, roughly four and a half months before the presidential election, police discovered five men inside the DNC offices carrying electronic equipment, cameras, and large sums of cash. These were no ordinary burglars. They were operating as part of a larger CRP intelligence gathering plan code-named Gemstone, and they had been in the DNC offices once before, in late May. Their mission this time was to fix a defective bugging device placed during the prior entry on the telephone of the DNC chairman; these orders had come after high officials at CRP expressed dissatisfaction with the information theretofore produced by the expensive Gemstone. Tr. 2649, 4143-4147, 4519-4521.

    Gemstone was the brainchild of G. Gordon Liddy, CRP’s [CRP=Committee to Re-elect the President] general counsel, who had been hired in late 1971 with the expectation that he would develop plans for gathering political intelligence and for countering demonstrations. Tr. 2625-2628, 4507. That expectation was abundantly fulfilled. Collaborating with E. Howard Hunt, Jr., a former CIA agent whom Liddy knew well from previous ventures undertaken at White House behest, Liddy went to work on his assignment. In two meetings held during January and February 1972 he presented his initial Gemstone plan and budget to Mitchell, at that time Attorney General but even then the functional head of the Nixon re-election effort. These meetings were attended by Jeb Stuart Magruder, Deputy Director of CRP and later an important Government witness, and John W. Dean, III, counsel to the President and eventually the Government’s prime witness at trial. At these first meetings Liddy failed to win approval. Mitchell indicating that the original million-dollar budget had to be scaled down. Tr. 2628-2634, 4507-4513. By March 30, however, Liddy had pared his budget to $250,000, and Mitchell had resigned his duties as Attorney General to become head of CRP in title as well as function.

    I love that then-Attorney General Mitchell’s problem with the scheme is not that it would violate multiple laws, but that it would cost too much.

    Shorter DOJ reply to Bannon’s motion, “We’ve seen this movie before, where conspirators in the WH complained about publicity. The court laughed it away then, and should laugh it away again now.”

  3. Adam Selene says:

    I started a list recently of why I think prison would be good for Steve Bannon. Feel free to add.

    I think prison would be good for Steve Bannon because:

    1. Get him out of his mother’s basement.
    2. He could learn how to speak Spanish.
    3. He could learn a trade.
    4. He could catch an old Tyler Perry movie.

  4. L. Eslinger says:

    Bannon, like Stone, fully appreciates how the competition for advertising dollars infects and influences the “content” selected for distribution by news-oriented infotainment companies. The idea that serious, uncompromised journalism and hard news ever truly existed seems suspiciously like a memory implanted in a replicant.

    It appears that the J6 committee isn’t falling for Bannon’s attempt to spew his poison via an unedited hearing.

  5. Eureka says:

    Dunno if this is coordinated with 30-sec-man’s cacophony/hearing scheduled tomorrow (?still) or Patsy Baloney/other J6C content to come next week, but the usual suspects are pushing a more acute Hunter Biden angle this weekend, claiming to have hacked “his phone” (or a phone of his) — plus all the accessory topics/claims they make around it. One might say they are flooding the zone with shit.

    • SilverWolf says:

      Actually, Bannon’s preferred method; “The real opposition is the media. And the way to deal with them is to flood the zone with shit.”-stevie shitface bannon

      As Jonathan Rauch once said, citing Bannon’s infamous quote, “This is not about persuasion: This is about disorientation.”

    • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

      I love how the press has the memory of a goldfish and just credulously accepts that Biden’s offspring are constantly shedding, dropping, losing, forgetting, all manner of laptops, phones, diaries, pictures, etc.

  6. Cosmo Le Cat says:

    Query: does Trump’s offer to withdraw his (alleged) claim of executive privilege weaken his claim in future court proceedings? He cites the inconvenience and expense it places upon witnesses. If those are sufficient reasons to withdraw EP, then surely the needs of Congress (and grand juries) to gather evidence are more than sufficient.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Trump is a habitual liar and propagandist. Here, he’s using the logical fallacy of begging the question. He is assuming the existence of EP between him and Bannon that he needs to prove, hoping to avoid the job of proving it, because he can’t.

      It’s an argument designed for the MAGA crowd – gotta keep the money flowing into Trumps’ coffers – not for a court or congressional committee.

    • timbo says:

      IMO it’s an attempt to keep the obstructionist interpretation of Executive Privilege that Twitler and the Twisslerings/Twisslering lawyers seem to be continually leaning on not struck down in flames. If there were any such assertation in Bannons case, it is coming to the hard point where it would be subject to Federal court review and rulings. So, rather than subject the paper-thin reasoning behind all these EP claims, Twitler has withdrawn the assertation so as not to have it subjected to the legal indignity of being adjudicated fairly, struck down, and laughed out of all further court proceedings in the Federal system.

  7. TimB says:

    I once again used Google News’ useful “view full coverage” feature, reaching three conclusions from what I found reading a couple of dozen stories this afternoon..
    1) Strikingly few journalists bother to call both sides in this dispute. CNN did, calling both the prosecutors and the J6 committee, but most others either accepted Bannon’s narrative or offered a vague “disputed” remark about his supposed privilege without source or discussion of the nature of the dispute. When in journalism school does “get a quote from both sides” come up?
    2) Many, many more journalists opine (yeah, in supposed news stories) about the J6 committee’s motives and goals than Bannon’s. The discussion here, about his wanting to get his name in the papers, seems spot on.
    3) There are a striking number of different unflattering photos of Bannon, and most journalists use one. Yet they buy his story. They are attacking him in the wrong sense.
    Okay, in each bullet I, too, slipped over into opinion but at least each time I had a fact.

  8. Badger Robert says:

    Living in Ireland must help Ms. Wheeler’s delightful sense of humor. We get to laugh along with her as we watch The 30 Second Man make fools out of people who claim to be serious journalists.

  9. John Paul Jones says:

    AP is reporting that Bannon will testify.

    “It’s unclear how much Bannon intends to cooperate. He has expressed a preference to appear before the committee in a public hearing. The committee is making clear he must first sit for a private interview, typically in a sworn deposition. It’s also possible he may opt to appear and then refuse to answer questions, citing his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.”

    The story also quotes Trump’s childish insult letter “waiving” the privilege that Bannon doesn’t actually have.

    • Rugger9 says:

      Bannon might be plenty smart but like many other plenty of smart people he thinks he’s the smartest one in the room by far. Such hubris can lead to attempts to run intellectual rings around the rest of the room to remind everyone he’s too smart to be caught.

      However… Bannon doesn’t know what the J6SC knows for certain and that may include information which will impede the story if not outright contradict what he’s going to tell them. Lying to Congress is still a crime, and it’s not TFG’s pet DoJ any longer. So, this is really a fishing expedition as a dangerous game where the room is populated by some pretty smart people on the dais (preening or not) and the investigators (committee and DoJ).

      As for the gracious waiving of ‘executive privilege’ by Individual-1, there are several things wrong with that:
      1. Biden has that power (and already waived it) not Individual-1 as of January 20, 2021 at noon-ish (“… so help me God”).
      2. Bannon was not a WH employee in any sense of the word for years prior (he was booted out 18 AUG 2017) to the events the J6SC is looking at, and so would have no more privilege than I would (i.e. none).
      3. Bannon is neither admitted to the bar, admitted as Individual-1’s attorney pro hac vice (assuming a court would accept him as such) nor is there any documentation between Individual-1 and Bannon that would establish a ‘protected’ relationship (i.e. attorney, clergy, spousal, etc.). The foundation of any sort of privilege is the protected relationship which determines the guardrails for allowable questions.

      Of course the J6 Cabal will claim privilege and anything else they can think of to delay proceedings or engage in graymail to find out what the J6SC knows. What’s different this time IMHO is that I sense this committee is genuinely angry at what they are finding out and no quarter will be given to anyone (sorry, Stuart).

      • timbo says:

        This is more about the Federal courts about to tear to shreds Bannon’s moronic reasons for not complying with a Congressional subpoena. It’s becoming more and more likely that Bannon’s former lawyer(s) may well have to testify against him at this trial…at which point we may get down into the nitty-gritty of who invented all these made-up reasons not to comply to the subpeona…if the Federal courts even care to hear it at this point?

        • Rugger9 says:

          The court said ‘no’. Apparently Bannon’s defense attorney whined that there was no reason to put the case on now that all of his planned defenses have been rejected.

          So, as we’d say in the service “Not only no but no!”

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            If he’s run through his planned defense strategies, maybe Hungry Steve should cop a plea, or hire Kris Kobach as new defense counsel.

            • FL Resister says:

              Yeah, this guy:

              “Most Kansans know Kobach as a perennial — and mostly failed — Republican candidate for statewide office. He actually did win once, serving two terms as Kansas secretary of state, but that gig ended ignominiously: His legal defense of the state’s voter citizenship law was so shoddy that the judge found him in contempt and ordered him to take remedial law classes. The state ended up paying out $1.9 million in the case.” – Joel Mathis

              Read more at:

  10. Raven Eye says:

    Listening to BBC World Service this evening and they reported Trump waiving executive privilege for Bannon. Sigh.

    I went to the BBC site and filed a complaint requiring a response.

  11. Tom R. says:

    The definition of chutzpah : The man who, having killed his mother and father, throws himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan.
    ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ — Leo Rosten

    Sloppy Steve seems to be arguing the same sort of self-made victimhood.

  12. joel fisher says:

    Am I the only one to notice that until some judge tells Bannon and his lawyer, “Don’t bring that BS into my courtroom”, Bannon is winning the stall battle?

      • joel fisher says:

        While there’s a dollar to give an unethical lawyer for an appeal, it will happen.. And don’t I remember some pos Trump appointee is on the Court of Appeals?

  13. gmoke says:

    Thank you Harvard Business School for your exemplary education of distinguished alumni like George W Bush and Steve Bannon. Thanks too to the Kennedy School for Peter Navarro. Tell me again about what a “liberal” institution Harvard is.

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