Hearing: Trump told Justice Dept. to call election 'corrupt'
Author of the article:Associated Press
Eric Tucker And Farnoush Amiri
Publishing date:Jun 23, 2022 • 6 hours ago • 6 minute read • Join the conversation
WASHINGTON — Donald Trump hounded the Justice Department to pursue his false election fraud claims, striving in vain to enlist top law enforcement officials in his desperate bid to stay in power and relenting only when warned in the Oval Office of mass resignations, according to testimony Thursday to the House panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot.
Three Trump-era Justice Department officials recounted persistent badgering from the president, including day after day of directives to chase baseless allegations that the election won by Democrat Joe Biden had been stolen. They said they swept aside each demand from Trump because there was no evidence of widespread fraud, then banded together when the president weighed whether to replace the department’s top lawyer with a lower-level official eager to help undo the results.
All the while, Republican loyalists in Congress trumpeted the president’s claims — and several later sought pardons from the White House after the effort failed and the Capitol was breached in a day of violence, the committee revealed Thursday.
The hearing, the fifth by the panel probing the assault on the Capitol, made clear that Trump’s sweeping pressure campaign targeted not only statewide election officials but also his own executive branch agencies. The witnesses solemnly described the constant contact from the president as an extraordinary breach of protocol, especially since the Justice Department has long cherished its independence from the White House and looked to steer clear of partisan considerations in investigative decisions.
“When you damage our fundamental institutions, it’s not easy to repair them,” said Jeffrey Rosen, the acting attorney general in the final days of the Trump administration. “So I thought this was a really important issue, to try to make sure that the Justice Department was able to stay on the right course.”
The hearing focused on a memorably tumultuous time at the department after the December 2020 departure of Attorney General William Barr, who drew Trump’s ire with his public proclamation that there was no evidence of fraud that could have changed the election results.
He was replaced by his top deputy, Rosen, who said that for a roughly two-week period after taking the job, he either met with or was called by Trump virtually every day. The common theme, he said, was “dissatisfaction that the Justice Department, in his view, had not done enough to investigate election fraud.”
Trump presented the department with an “arsenal of allegations,” none of them true, said Richard Donoghue, another top official who testified Thursday. Even so, Trump prodded the department at various points to seize voting machines, to appoint a special counsel to probe fraud claims and to simply declare the election corrupt.
The department did none of those things.
“For the department to insert itself into the political process this way, I think would have had grave consequences for the country. It may very well have spiraled us into a constitutional crisis,” Donoghue said.
The testimony showed that Trump did, however, find a willing ally inside the department in the form of an environmental enforcement lawyer who’d become the leader of the agency’s civil division.
The attorney, Jeffrey Clark, had been introduced to Trump by a Republican congressman and postured himself as an eager advocate for election fraud claims. In a contentious Oval Office meeting on the night of Jan. 3, 2021, just three days before the insurrection, Trump even toyed with replacing Rosen with Clark but backed down amid warnings of mass resignations.
Clark’s name was referenced often Thursday, with Rep. Adam Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican and committee member, deriding him as a lawyer whose sole qualification was his fealty to Trump and his willingness to do whatever the president wanted, “including overthrowing a free and fair democratic election.”
A lawyer for Clark did not return messages seeking comment.
Barely an hour before the hearing began, it was revealed that federal agents on Wednesday had searched Clark’s Virginia home, according to a person familiar with the matter. It was not clear what agents were seeking.
The latest hearing centred less on the violence at the Capitol than on the legal push by Trump to undo the election results, as the panel makes the case that the defeated president’s “big lie” over the election led to the insurrection. That included specific asks by Trump but also more general ones.
In one phone conversation, according to handwritten notes taken by Donoghue and highlighted at Thursday’s hearing, Trump directed Rosen to “Just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the R. Congressmen.”
Around that time, Trump was connected by a Republican congressman, Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, to Clark, who’d joined the department in 2018 as its chief environmental lawyer and later set about aiding efforts to challenge the election results.
At one point, Clark presented colleagues with a draft letter pushing Georgia officials to convene a special legislative session on the election results. Clark wanted the letter sent, but Justice Department superiors refused.
Clark was not among the hearing witnesses. He earlier appeared in private before the committee, though lawmakers Thursday played a videotaped deposition showing him repeatedly invoking his constitutional right against self-incrimination in response to questions.
Perry’s name surfaced later in the hearing, when the committee played videotaped statements from Trump aides saying he and several other Republican members of Congress sought pardons from the president that would shield them from criminal prosecution.
Perry and fellow GOP Reps. Andy Biggs of Arizona, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Matt Gaetz of Florida and Louie Gohmert of Texas were all involved in efforts to reject the electoral tally or submit “fake electors.” Gaetz tweeted Thursday that the hearing was a “political sideshow,” and Perry denied in a statement Thursday having ever sought a pardon.
The situation came to a head on Jan. 3, 2021, a Sunday, when Clark informed Rosen that Trump wanted to replace him with Clark as acting attorney general. Rosen, resisting the idea of being fired by a subordinate, testified that he swiftly contacted senior Justice Department officials to rally them together. He also requested a White House meeting, where he and his allies could make their case.
That night, he showed up at the White House for what would be a dramatic, hours-long meeting centred on whether Trump should proceed with plans for a radical leadership change. Clark was present, as were Donoghue and Steven Engel, a Rosen ally and senior Justice Department official who also testified Thursday.
At the start of the meeting, Rosen said, “The president turned to me and he said: ‘The one thing we know is you, Rosen, you aren’t going to do anything. You don’t even agree with the claims of election fraud, and this other guy at least might do something.”’
Rosen told Trump he was correct, and said he wouldn’t let the Justice Department do anything to overturn the election.
Donoghue made clear he’d resign if Trump fired Rosen. Trump asked Engel whether he would do the same. Engel responded that, absolutely, he would. The entire leadership team would resign, Trump was told. Hundreds of staffers would walk out too.
Donoghue also sought to dissuade Trump from believing Clark had the legal background to do what the president wanted, saying Clark had “never tried a criminal case” or conducted a criminal investigation.
“He’s telling you that he’s going to take charge of the department, 115,000 employees, including the entire FBI, and turn the place on a dime and conduct nationwide criminal investigations that will produce results in a matter of days,”’ Donoghue said.
“It’s impossible,” he added, “it’s absurd, it’s not going to happen, and it’s going to fail.”
The president backed down. The night, and his Republican administration, ended with Rosen atop the Justice Department.
Associated Press writers Michael Balsamo, Lisa Mascaro and Mary Clare Jalonick in Washington contributed to this report.
Illinois Republican calls Roe decision 'victory for white life' at Trump rally
Spokesman said that it was 'a mix-up of words' and she meant to say 'right to life'
Author of the article:Associated Press
Publishing date:Jun 26, 2022 • 15 hours ago • 2 minute read • Join the conversation
U.S. Representative Mary Miller (R-IL) gives remarks after receiving an endorsement during a Save America Rally with former U.S. President Donald Trump at the Adams County Fairgrounds in Mendon, Ill., Saturday, June 25, 2022.
U.S. Representative Mary Miller (R-IL) gives remarks after receiving an endorsement during a Save America Rally with former U.S. President Donald Trump at the Adams County Fairgrounds in Mendon, Ill., Saturday, June 25, 2022. PHOTO BY MICHAEL B. THOMAS /Getty Images
NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. Rep. Mary Miller of Illinois, speaking at a rally Saturday night with former President Donald Trump, called the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade a “victory for white life.”
Miller’s spokesman said the Illinois Republican had intended to say the decision was a victory for a “right to life.” The line as delivered was out of step with the disproportionate impact the repeal of abortion rights will have on women of colour.
Miller is running for reelection in the state’s newly redrawn 15th Congressional District against GOP Rep. Rodney Davis with the former president’s blessing. She had been invited on stage to speak by Trump, who held the rally in Mendon, Illinois, to turn out the vote ahead of the state’s Tuesday primary.
“President Trump, on behalf of all the MAGA patriots in America, I want to thank you for the historic victory for white life in the Supreme Court yesterday,” she said, drawing cheers from the crowd.
Miller spokesman Isaiah Wartman told The Associated Press that it was “a mix-up of words.”
“You can clearly see in the video … she’s looking at her papers and looking at her speech,” Wartman said.
Her campaign noted that she is the grandmother of several nonwhite grandchildren, including one with Down syndrome.
The freshman congresswoman, who was among those who voted to overturn the results of the 2020 election, previously came under criticism for quoting Adolf Hitler.
“Hitler was right on one thing. He said, ‘Whoever has the youth has the future,”‘ Miller said in a speech last year, according to video posted by WCIA-TV. She later apologized after Democrats in Illinois called for her resignation.
The rally came as some elements of the far right have pushed the “great replacement theory,” a racist ideology that alleges white people and their influence are being “replaced” by people of color. Proponents blame both immigration as well as demographic changes, including white birth rates.
During the rally, Trump took a victory lap for the Supreme Court’s bombshell ruling Friday ending the constitutional right to abortion. The three conservative justices he appointed all voted in favour.
He noted that in 2016, he promised to appoint judges who opposed abortion rights.
“Yesterday the court handed down a victory for the Constitution, a victory for the rule of law, and above all, a victory for life,” he told the crowd, which broke into a chant of “Thank you Trump!.”
Trump at the rally also endorsed Republican Darren Bailey, who is running to become the party’s nominee for governor.
Howard Stern considering running for president
Author of the articleenette Wilford
Publishing date:Jun 28, 2022 • 15 hours ago • 2 minute read • Join the conversation
Howard Stern – former America’s Got Talent judge, infamous shock jock – may attempt to add another bulletpoint to his resume: POTUS.
The SiriusXM radio host is thinking about running for president so he can right the wrongs the current and former presidents have done.
“The problem with most presidents is they have too big of an agenda,” he said.
“The only agenda I would have is to make the country fair again,” Stern added, before ranting about the conservative Supreme Court justices.
Stern first blasted Clarence Thomas, describing him as a “dormant Darth Vader,” then moved on to the “horrible” overturning of Roe v. Wade, referencing women who find out their child has birth defects, rape victims, and the questionable quality of some forms of contraception.
“The other thing is, if I do run for president, and I’m not f—— around, I’m really thinking about it — the only other thing I’m going to do is appoint five more Supreme Court justices,” Stern said.
The radio legend also said he wants to “get rid of” the Electoral College, the 538 presidential electors who come together during an election to give their official votes for president and vice president of the United States.
“I am going to do the very simple thing that’ll set the country straight: one vote, one person,” Stern explained, claiming Trump actually lost the 2016 election against Hillary Clinton who won the popular vote – but not the Electoral College.
“A guy who lost the vote won the election,” Stern scoffed. “How long can we keep electing people who lost the election?”
It wouldn’t be the first time Stern thought about a life in politics. He ran for governor of New York in 1994 but bowed out of the race after he was pressed to disclose his personal finances.
Last year, Stern said he would only consider running in 2024 if Trump was the Republican nominee.
“I’ll beat his ass,” he said at the time.
“I would just sit there at debate and play that f—— clip of him trying to fix the election, over and over again. There’s no way I’d lose.”
Trump did not care that Jan. 6 rioters were armed, tried to hijack limo: Ex-White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson
Author of the article:Reuters
Richard Cowan and Moira Warburton
Publishing date:Jun 28, 2022 • 15 hours ago • 4 minute read • 88 Comments
Cassidy Hutchinson, who was an aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows during the administration of former U.S. President Donald Trump, demonstrates Trump's actions inside the presidential limousine on Jan. 6 as she testifies during a public hearing of the U.S. House Select Committee to investigate the Jan. 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol, on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 28, 2022.
Cassidy Hutchinson, who was an aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows during the administration of former U.S. President Donald Trump, demonstrates Trump's actions inside the presidential limousine on Jan. 6 as she testifies during a public hearing of the U.S. House Select Committee to investigate the Jan. 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol, on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 28, 2022. PHOTO BY EVELYN HOCKSTEIN /REUTERS
WASHINGTON — Then-President Donald Trump dismissed concerns that supporters were armed with guns at his Jan. 6, 2021, rally preceding the U.S. Capitol riot, and he later tried to grab the steering wheel of his Secret Service limousine in a failed bid to direct it to the Capitol, a former aide testified on Tuesday.
Cassidy Hutchinson, a top aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, described Trump supporters being armed with AR-15-style rifles and other weapons in testimony on Tuesday to the House of Representatives select committee.
Instead, Trump expressed anger that the Secret Service, charged with protecting the president, was using metal-detecting magnetometers to keep armed people out of the fenced-off area where he gave a fiery speech in which he repeated his false claims that his 2020 election defeat was the result of fraud.
“Take the effing mags away; they’re not here to hurt me,” Hutchinson quoted Trump as saying that morning, referring to the weapons that were being carried.
— Reuters (@Reuters) June 28, 2022
Magnetometers dot U.S. government buildings and outdoor events throughout Washington to protect officials and tourists.
Following the rally, Hutchinson testified, Trump got into an altercation with Secret Service agents who were refusing to drive him to the Capitol as his supporters stormed the historic building.
“‘I’m the effing president. Take me up to the Capitol now,'” Hutchinson quoted an irate Trump as saying. She added that Trump tried from the back seat of the car to grab the steering wheel of “The Beast,” as the heavily-armored presidential vehicle is known.
The hastily called hearing marked the first time this month, during six hearings, that a former White House official appeared for live testimony.
The House of Representatives committee for more than a year has been investigating the first attempt to prevent the peaceful transfer of power in U.S. history.
Speaking in soft but assured tones, Hutchinson painted a picture of panicked White House officials bristling at the possibility of Trump joining what was to become a violent mob pushing its way into the Capitol, hunting for then-Vice President Mike Pence, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other lawmakers who were then certifying the victory of Democrat Joe Biden over the Republican Trump in the 2020 election.
‘EVERY CRIME IMAGINABLE’
Their worries focused on the potential criminal charges Trump and others could face.
“We’re going to get charged with every crime imaginable,” Hutchinson said White House counselor Pat Cipollone told her if Trump were to go to the Capitol on Jan. 6.
“‘We need to make sure that this doesn’t happen, this would be a really terrible idea for us. We have serious legal concerns if we go up to the Capitol that day,'” Cipollone said, Hutchinson testified.
Hutchinson, who sat doors away from Trump’s Oval Office, testified that just days before the attack on the U.S. Capitol, Meadows knew of the looming violence that could unfold.
“‘Things might get real, read bad on Jan. 6,'” she quoted him as saying inside the White House on Jan. 2 with her boss.
Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani, an adviser to Trump, said about Jan. 6: “‘We’re going to the Capitol, it’s going to be great. The president’s going to be there; he’s going to look powerful,'” Hutchinson testified.
At that point, she told the House committee of seven Democrats and two Republicans: “It was the first moment that I remembered feeling scared and nervous of what could happen on Jan. 6.”
Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson praised Hutchinson’s “courage” in coming forth to testify to the committee.
In video testimony during the last hearing last week, Hutchinson told the committee that Republican allies of Trump had sought White House pardons after supporting his attempts to overturn his 2020 election defeat.
Testimony at the committee’s five prior hearings has shown how Trump riled thousands of supporters with false claims that he lost the 2020 election to Biden because of massive voter fraud.
This month’s hearings featured videotaped testimony from figures including Trump’s oldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, and his former attorney general, Bill Barr. They and other witnesses testified that they did not believe Trump’s false claims of widespread fraud and tried to dissuade him of them.
Dozens of courts, election officials and reviews by Trump’s own administration rejected his claims of fraud, including outlandish stories about an Italian security firm and the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez tampering with U.S. ballots.
Trump, who is publicly flirting with another White House run in 2024, denies wrongdoing and accuses the committee of engaging in a political witch hunt.
During the assault on the Capitol, thousands of Trump supporters smashed windows, fought with police and sent lawmakers, including Trump’s vice president, Mike Pence, fleeing for their lives.
Four people died the day of the attack, one fatally shot by police and the others of natural causes. More than 100 police officers were injured, and one died the next day. Four officers later died by suicide.
U.S. Capitol riot panel faces questions over Cassidy Hutchinson's explosive testimony
Author of the article:Reuters
Publishing date:Jun 29, 2022 • 15 hours ago • 3 minute read • 50 Comments
Cassidy Hutchinson, a top former aide to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, describes the actions of former President Donald Trump as she testifies during the sixth hearing held by the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol on June 28, 2022 in the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, D.C.
Cassidy Hutchinson, a top former aide to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, describes the actions of former President Donald Trump as she testifies during the sixth hearing held by the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol on June 28, 2022 in the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, D.C. PHOTO BY MANDEL NGAN-POOL /Getty Images
WASHINGTON — The congressional probe into the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol by Donald Trump supporters faced questions on Wednesday about what steps it had taken to corroborate a White House aide’s account of the then-president having struggled with Secret Service agents in his armored SUV that day.
U.S. media outlets, citing Secret Service sources, said the head of Trump’s security detail, Robert Engel, and the driver of the car were prepared to challenge the aide’s testimony that Trump grabbed the steering wheel of the modified Chevrolet Suburban when he learned that the Secret Service would not drive him to the Capitol, where thousands of his supporters rioted.
Neither Engel nor the driver made public statements on Wednesday. Trump on Tuesday denied having grabbed the wheel.
An aide to the U.S. House of Representatives committee on Jan. 6 said it would welcome testimony from any witness who wished to provide new information under oath following Tuesday’s testimony by Cassidy Hutchinson, a top aide to Trump’s White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
The aide declined to answer questions about whether the committee already had interviewed Secret Service agents or other officials with first-hand knowledge of the incident Hutchinson described.
A Secret Service spokesman told the Politico news outlet on Wednesday the committee had not sought to confirm details of Hutchinson’s testimony before the hearing. The Secret Service said in a statement it was cooperating with the committee.
Hutchinson testified that Tony Ornato, a senior Secret Service official, told her that Trump had struggled with agents after giving a fiery speech to his supporters outside the White House that morning in which he repeatedly falsely blamed widespread fraud for his election loss to Joe Biden.
The riot was an attempt to stop Congress, with Vice-President Pence presiding, from certifying Biden’s election.
‘THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY’
“If it is true the Secret Service denies the allegations against President Trump of lunging and assaulting officers, then the story is really passing along gossip that did not bear fruit,” Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham said on Wednesday.
“The committee, with a little bit of effort, could have told the other side of the story but they chose NOT to because they wanted sensational headlines.”
Supporters of the Republican Trump have not challenged other revelations in Hutchinson’s testimony. These included Trump’s knowledge – even approval – of his supporters walking around Washington heavily armed on Jan. 6 and that he had no qualms about rioters urging that Pence be hanged.
Hutchinson also testified that Trump was known for angry outbursts in the White House that left food being splayed onto walls and dishes upended.
“Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony before the Jan. 6 Committee has been praised as ‘courageous’ and dismissed as ‘unbelievable,'” said Democratic Senator Dick Durbin on Twitter on Wednesday. “It’s time for those present for some of the darkest moments for our democracy to come forward under oath and, like her, tell their stories.”
Durbin chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Also on Wednesday, a lawyer for Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the wife of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, demanded the committee provide a better “justification” for seeking testimony from her.
Earlier this month, Ginni Thomas told the Daily Caller that she was eager to “clear up misconceptions” about her activism in conservative political circles and her attendance at the Trump rally on Jan. 6.
As Meadows’ former deputy, Hutchinson, now 26, was a constant presence among White House staff in the last several months of 2020, frequently flying aboard Air Force One, friendly with staff and with Trump’s Secret Service detail. Her office was a 10-second walk from the president’s Oval Office.
Aides who worked at the White House were surprised at the outsized influence for a then-24-year-old and surprised at her tale of drama on the SUV the day of the riot.
Sources familiar with the matter said she had planned to join the small contingent of staffers who moved to Florida with Trump after he handed over power to Joe Biden in January 2021, but Trump ultimately opted not to hire her.
Trump hires former 9th Circuit judge for Twitter court fight
Author of the article:Reuters
Jacqueline Thomsen and Mike Scarcella
Publishing date:Jul 01, 2022 • 6 hours ago • 2 minute read • Join the conversation
A former California appeals court judge who retired in 2017 following allegations of sexual harassment is now representing former U.S. President Donald Trump in his legal battle with Twitter.
Ex-9th Circuit Appeals Court Judge Alex Kozinski on Friday filed to appear in Trump’s appeal of a trial court order dismissing a lawsuit against Twitter over the former president’s ban from the social media platform following the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol.
Kozinski declined to comment. John Coale, the lead lawyer on the Trump case, said Kozinski was brought on to help due to his experience with the 9th Circuit, and that no other changes are expected for the legal team.
Kozinski in 2017 retired from the 9th Circuit, the federal appeals court that covers much of the western United States, after the court initiated an investigation into him following allegations of misconduct from former law clerks and other junior staffers.
Kozinski said at the time that remaining in his role would be a distraction to the federal judiciary. He said he “always had a broad sense of humour” and “may not have been mindful enough of the special challenges and pressures that women face in the workplace.”
It was never his intention to make his clerks feel uncomfortable, he said.
The Washington Post first reported on the misconduct claims against Kozinski in December 2017. Reuters has not independently verified the claims. The initiation of a complaint is not a finding of wrongdoing.
In 2019, Kozinski returned to the 9th Circuit representing the plaintiff in a lawsuit over alleged copyright infringement in the film “The Shape of Water.” The parties in 2021 agreed to dismiss it after Kozinski won a key ruling.
He was also on a team of lawyers in Los Angeles federal court that sued Paramount Pictures Corp last month for alleged copyright infringement over the blockbuster “Top Gun: Maverick.” Paramount has said the claims are without merit.
Trump last year filed lawsuits against Twitter, Facebook and Alphabet’s Google after they banned him from their platforms following the Jan. 6 riot.
U.S. District Judge James Donato in San Francisco in May dismissed Trump’s lawsuit against Twitter, rejecting the former president’s claim that the ban violated his First Amendment freedom of speech.
Twitter said at the time it permanently removed Trump’s account as his tweets had violated the platform’s policy barring “glorification of violence.”
When reached on Friday, an attorney for Twitter referred Reuters to the tech company, and a Twitter spokesperson declined to comment.
Ex-Trump aide Steve Bannon offers to testify in U.S. probe of Jan. 6 riot
Author of the article:Reuters
Publishing date:Jul 10, 2022 • 13 hours ago • 1 minute read • Join the conversation
WASHINGTON — Donald Trump’s former close adviser Steve Bannon has told the congressional panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol that he is ready to testify, a change of heart days before he is due to be tried for contempt of Congress.
In a letter to the committee seen by Reuters, Bannon’s lawyer Robert Costello, wrote to say the former president would waive the claim of executive privilege which Bannon had cited in refusing to appear before the committee.
Bannon, a prominent figure in right-wing media circles who served as Trump’s chief strategist in 2017, is scheduled to go on trial July 18 on two criminal contempt charges for refusing to testify or provide documents.
The letter from the lawyer said Bannon preferred to testify publicly, but Representative Zoe Lofgren, a committee Democrat, told CNN that ordinarily the committee takes a deposition behind closed doors.
“This goes on for hour after hour after hour. We want to get all our questions answered. And you can’t do that in a live format,” Lofgren said. “There are many questions that we have for him.”
Throughout the House of Representatives committee hearings, videotaped snippets of closed-door testimony by witnesses under oath have been shown to the public.
Trump has been chafing that none of his supporters have testified in his defence at the committee hearings which, separate from the trial, are focused on the attack by Trump supporters seeking to stop the certification in Congress of Trump’s defeat by Joe Biden in the November 2020 election.
In a letter from Trump to Bannon seen by Reuters, Trump said he was waiving executive privilege because he “watched how unfairly you and others have been treated.”
The House panel is due to hold public hearings on Tuesday and Thursday this week.
Judge won't delay trial for Trump ex-adviser Steve Bannon
Author of the article:Associated Press
Publishing date:Jul 11, 2022 • 15 hours ago • 2 minute read • Join the conversation
WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Monday declined to delay the upcoming trial of Steve Bannon, an adviser to former President Donald Trump who faces contempt charges after refusing for months to cooperate with the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Bannon is still scheduled to go on trial next week despite telling the House committee late Saturday that he is now prepared to testify. It’s unclear whether Bannon will again refuse to appear before the committee with the trial pending.
U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols also ruled against several requests by Bannon’s attorneys to seek the testimony of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi or the committee chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi. And Nichols barred Bannon’s attorneys from arguing before a jury that the committee violated House rules in demanding Bannon’s appearance, that Bannon defied the subpoena on the advice of his defense counsel or at Trump’s order.
Nichols also said he could address during jury selection any concerns about pretrial publicity due to the committee’s ongoing hearings. If it proves impossible to pick an unbiased jury, the judge said he would reconsider a delay.
The rulings led one of Bannon’s attorneys, David Schoen, to speak out in frustration as he sought clarification from the judge.
“What’s the point of going to trial here if there are no defenses?” Schoen asked.
“Agreed,” Nichols responded.
Speaking to reporters outside court, Schoen said he questioned whether Bannon could effectively defend himself given Nichols’ rulings and hinted he would appeal.
“He’s the judge,” Schoen said of Nichols. “That’s why they have a court of appeals.”
The judge said earlier in the hearing that Bannon could argue he thought the deadline to respond to the subpoena may not have been “operative.”
Bannon had been one of the highest-profile Trump-allied holdouts in refusing to testify before the committee, leading to two criminal counts of contempt of Congress last year for resisting the committee’s subpoena. He has argued that his testimony is protected by Trump’s claim of executive privilege.
The committee contends such a claim is dubious because Trump had fired Bannon from the White House in 2017 and Bannon was thus a private citizen when he was consulting with the then-president in the run-up to the riot on Jan. 6, 2021.
Bannon contacted the committee over the weekend after Trump issued a letter saying he would waive any claim of executive privilege to testify before what the former president called an “unselect committee of political thugs and hacks.”
Bannon was indicted in November on two counts of criminal contempt of Congress. Each count carries a minimum of 30 days of jail and as long as a year behind bars.