By Jacob Crosse
On Monday morning, former White House chief strategist and senior counselor to former president Donald Trump, fascist Stephen Bannon, surrendered to the federal authorities after being indicted last week for defying a congressional subpoena to appear before the January 6th House Select Committee. Bannon is facing two counts of criminal contempt, one for refusing to provide documentation to the committee, the other for refusing to appear for a deposition.
Before entering the FBI field office in downtown Washington D.C., the former editor of Breitbart, flanked by bodyguards pushing back reporters, photographers and a protester holding a sign which read “COUP PLOTTER,” threatened another coup.
Turning towards a camera live-streaming on the right-wing GETTR social media platform, which was founded by Jason Miller, a former Trump aide and spokesman who has also been subpoenaed by the select committee, Bannon said, “I don’t want anybody to take their eye off the ball for what we do every day … we are taking down the Biden regime.”
After appearing in court to hear the charges read against him, Bannon was released on his own recognizance. Prosecutors did not seek to detain Bannon, as he was charged with a non-violent offense, nor was Bannon arraigned, so he did not enter a plea. That will take place on Thursday before US District Judge Carl Nichols, who was appointed to the bench in 2019 by Trump.
After leaving the court, Bannon held an outdoor press conference with attorney David Schoen, a longtime defense lawyer who represented Trump during his second impeachment trial. Bannon struck an aggressive posture. “If the administrative state wants to take me on, bring it. Because we are here to fight this and we are going to go on offense,” barked Bannon, who proceeded to attack President Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Attorney General Merrick Garland for issuing and enforcing the subpoena.
“I’m telling you right now, this is going to be the misdemeanor from hell for Merrick Garland, Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden,” he declared.
Bannon played an integral role in Trump’s plot to overturn the election of President Joe Biden, as previously documented on the World Socialist Web Site. Through his War Room podcast Bannon propagated Trump’s baseless claims of a stolen election while inciting fascistic violence against Trump’s political opponents. In the weeks leading up to the attack on the Capitol, Bannon interviewed several of Trump’s coup lawyers including John Eastman and Rudy Giuliani.
During his January 5, 2021, episode of the War Room podcast Bannon telegraphed the attack on the Capitol, telling his listeners: “It’s not going to happen like you think it’s going to happen. OK, it’s going to be quite extraordinarily different … strap in. The war room, a posse. You have made this happen and tomorrow it’s game day.”
Given Bannon’s obvious and undeniable role in facilitating the coup, Bannon’s lawyer, Schoen, was obligated to immediately re-contextualize Bannon’s latest threats, seeking to transform his words from a pledge of further violence to an innocuous statement about future legal motions. “What he means by ‘offense’ is we are going to challenge this affirmatively,” said Schoen.
That Bannon continues to walk free and openly threaten, and likely plot, another coup attempt, is entirely the fault of the Biden administration and congressional Democrats, who are beholden to the same financial oligarchy that enabled Trump and Bannon to begin with.
There is no question that Bannon is consciously modeling himself on fascist predecessors of the 1920s and 1930s. In his grubby, disheveled appearance, Bannon is emulating Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. He gushed about Mussolini in a 2018 interview with the British magazine The Spectator, claiming he was “fascinated” by the dictator, whom he praised as a “guy’s guy” with an “amazing fashion sense.”
In a 2016 Los Angeles Times article, Bannon’s former longtime writer partner, Julia Jones, candidly recalled Bannon’s admiration of Nazi propaganda filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl.
“One time we were in the office, and he [Bannon] said, ‘I want to be the Leni Riefenstahl of George Bush,’ and I was horrified,’” she told the newspaper. Upon seeing her reaction, Jones said that Bannon amended his comment, stating that he wanted to be, “The Riefenstahl of the GOP.”
Backing his former strategist, Trump released a statement following Bannon’s indictment in which he claimed, “This Country has perhaps never done to anyone what they have done to Steve Bannon and they are looking to do it to others, also.” Trump went on to rail against the Afghanistan withdrawal, “open Borders” and inflation, stating that the “USA is a radicalized mess!”
As Trump and the Republican Party continue to defy the Democrats and move further to the right, new relations about Trump’s attempted coup continue to emerge every day, further confirming the Marxist analysis of the World Socialist Web Site.
In a new book by Jonathan Karl of ABC News, Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show , Karl reports that Trump campaign attorney Jenna Ellis, a Willard “war room” participant who has also been subpoenaed by the select committee, wrote a memo, similar to Eastman’s, which outlined steps Vice President Mike Pence could take to contest the results of the election.
The memo directed Pence to send back the electoral votes of six states that Biden won on January 6 and then issue a deadline of “7pm eastern standard time on January 15th” for the states to return an updated, pro-Trump, slate of electors. According to the Ellis memo, if any state legislature failed to respond and provide new vote totals, those states’ electoral votes would not be “open and counted.”
While the memo was written by Ellis, according to Karl, it was sent to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on New Year’s Eve, 2020, who then forwarded the memo to Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short. The next day, January 1, Trump’s “body man” John McEntee, who has also been subpoenaed by the committee, relayed another memo to Short, entitled “[Thomas] Jefferson used his position as VP to win.”
While Pence did not end up following through on Trump’s requests, this was not because he did not want to assist. Instead, Pence consulted with his lawyers, including author of the Bush “torture memos” John Yoo, who advised Pence what Trump was asking was unconstitutional and illegal.
In another excerpt of the book, Karl asked Trump about a phone call reported by the New York Times on January 6 in which Trump pressured Pence to follow through on the memo’s directives, reportedly telling Pence, “You can be a patriot or you can be a pussy.”
“I wouldn’t dispute it,” Trump said to Karl.
“Really?” Karl responded.
“I wouldn’t dispute it,” Trump repeated.
Karl also writes on a meeting he had with Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate in March. Karl brought up the subject of Trump’s coup, writing that he was “taken aback by how fondly [Trump] remembers a day I will always remember as one of the darkest I have ever witnessed.”
Trump remembers the coup, writes Karl, as, “a very beautiful time with extremely loving and friendly people—the largest crowd I have ever spoken before…”
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