Steve Bannon’s Sentencing Is Election Interference Of The Highest Order

Steve Bannon is scheduled to go to prison on July 1st, based on a court order, for defying a subpoena issued by the unlawfully constituted January 6th Committee several years ago.

One does not have to scratch far beneath the surface to see that everything about Bannon’s sentencing reeks of impropriety – from its timing, just months out from the most important presidential election in modern history – to the nature of the alleged “crime” itself, an unduly heavy-handed enforcement of congressional subpoena power issued by a slipshod committee that, as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich describes, “operated completely outside the bounds of legitimacy.”

Virtually nothing about the so-called “January 6th committee” is in accordance with custom or law.  It was effectively entirely Democrat-run, with seven Democrats and two Republicans, removing a fundamental prerequisite of bipartisanship needed to be legitimate.

What is more, its two Republican members, Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, were both anti-Trump liberals who have since been forced out of their congressional posts owing to their falling out with the base.  No other Republican partook in the committee’s investigations.  Thus, the pretext of bipartisanship afforded by Cheney and Kinzinger’s involvement is a fantasy, one that discredits its original authority and taints all subsequent findings.

However, even under the assumption that the January 6th Committee, with its blatant Democrat and anti-Trump bias, was somehow lawfully constituted, well-settled law – dating to the mid twentieth century prohibits the extreme abuses of power this particular Committee has engaged in – ultimately discrediting its actions in toto.

For one, the J6 committee in effect is a committee within a committee: it does not have the power to unilaterally issue subpoenas to its enemies of choice.  It is debatable whether any legitimately constituted committee — voted on by the whole congressional chamber — possesses this power.

Special or select committees formed on a political whim designed purely to reflexively crack down on political opponents plainly do not – and there is a ton of case law from the McCarthy era, where such crackdowns on alleged communist infiltrators in the government was commonplace, squarely aimed at protecting constitutional rights of those targeted by such witch-hunts.

Likewise, much case law exists that discredits how the Committee administered its subpoena power – which was far beyond the scope of its prerogative, for one, and worse than that, ran roughshod over Steve Bannon’s constitutional rights as a criminal defendant.

For example, in the seminal case Yellin v. United States (1963), the Supreme Court held that a defendant whose rights have been violated by a Congressional Committee has been denied due process of law – abnegating the Committee’s ability to press charges.

This is especially true when a committee fails to adhere to its express rules and procedures, and the defendant, in reasonable reliance on those procedures, is denied fundamental protections because the committee ignores the parameters of its own mandate.

It is without question that the J6 Committee, to the extent there are any lawful grounds whatsoever for its constitution (an improbability), went far beyond those grounds by stacking itself entirely with Democratic (or Democratic-adjacent) congresspersons, chosen by Nancy Pelosi, with no cooperation whatsoever from House Republican leadership, in what amounted to a bald-faced power grab intended to silence President Trump’s most effective and loyal advocates. How, on earth, could that be legal?

Typically, congressional subpoena power – and especially subpoena power to hold someone in contempt of Congress on a dubious felony charge based on the findings of a committee universally considered politically motivated – requires, at the bare minimum, a full vote by the entire chamber.

Arguably, for a case of Bannon and Navarro’s stature, implicating close presidential advisers with strong reason to believe they have at least some degree of immunity protection, and with a pending Supreme Court decision expected to provide clarity on the relevant question, the argument in favor of a full congressional vote finds even greater support.

Otherwise, by allowing this contempt action to occur, the courts are establishing an extremely dangerous precedent.  This would effectively license any disgruntled member of Congress with a chip on his soldier to imprison their adversary on nothing but a hunch.

What will happen when the political tides shift and, say, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz seek to band together to hold Democratic politicians and Biden Regime acolytes – like Alvin Bragg and Hunter Biden – in contempt for violating the arbitrary rules set by their own slapdash Committee?

Under the precedent now being set by the January 6th Committee, they can do just that; no precautions are being taken to protect Bannon’s fundamental rights.  Instead, the J6 Committee – which, again, was composed of only the most zealous anti-Trump haters – has acted on its own fancy to deny President Trump’s most powerful allies due process, just months before a critical election.

As the saying goes, if it looks like a duck and swims like a duck, it probably is a duck.  Substitute “election interference” for “duck” and there you have your answer.

Of course, the Committee members now scalping their political enemies have likely not entertained the above consideration to any great degree.  They are driven by Robespierrean bloodlust.

They appear to be betting on a scorched earth strategy, where they have it as their aim to lock up all their political enemies while still in a position to do so, thus extinguishing any threat of opposition – and the attendant need to ever face the repercussions for their destructive actions.

Noncompliance on the part of Bannon, et al. is thus woven into the fundamental calculus.  For the Committee members, the name of the game is to create a pretext of impartiality. They do this by first lodging their trumped-up subpoena against their chosen foe.

Then, come the day the target inevitably defies the order, which is basically a forgone conclusion based on how transparently illegitimate the whole thing is, the Committee can turn around and use that snub as the excuse upon which to lodge a contempt order against their chosen target.

Nothing about this is constitutional or legitimate.  Anyone who enters the Committee’s crosshairs and who meaningfully considers his options will finds himself in a bind – whether to comply is a quintessential case of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”

By simply appearing before the sham Committee at all, it risks giving the whole thing undeserved credibility.  In the alternative, effectively calling the Committee’s bluff through non-participation, à la Bannon and Navarro, is tantamount to – at least in the Committee’s eyes – an admission of guilt.

Ordinarily, of course, no “select committee,” least of all one carved out of such shoddy marble as the makeshift J6 Committee was, has the power to sentence anyone who defies its obviously absurd mandate.

By appearing before the Committee, the accused finds himself in a position akin to St. Thomas More being thrust into King Henry VIII’s kangaroo tribunal – he knows his persecutor made up its mind as to his guilt before ever stepping foot into the courtroom; there is no opportunity to convince him otherwise.

Thus, the accused reasons: better not to give a sham committee any more credence and retain one’s dignity than to show up and go through the motions like a lemming.  Only a fool or coward insouciantly prostates himself before the altar of injustice – which is exactly what the persecutors want.  Best to err on the side of not giving your enemy unnecessary firepower.

In not showing up, Bannon, like Peter Navarro before him, did the heroic thing and, in turn, degraded the character of the Committee as the kabuki theatre it is – never to be taken seriously.

This offended those of its members who so desperately need validation through the ritualistic humiliation of their enemies.  The ultimate blasphemy, for them, is to be called out as an emperor without clothes and reduced into the laughingstock that they are.

Fortunately, some progress has been made with Tuesday’s late announcement that House Speaker Mike Johnson voted to reject the previous Congress’ handling of the J6 Committee.

As part of the announcement, the Speaker will also be filing an amicus brief with the D.C. Court of Appeals, authored by the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, stating that the current House believes former Speaker Pelosi abused her authority by commissioning the J6 Committee in the first place.

Several more members of Congress, including Rep. Barry Loudermilk, are expected to file their own separate amicus briefs with the Supreme Court — either anticipating an appeal, or, at the bare minimum, pressuring Chief Justice Roberts to grant a stay on Bannon’s sentencing date, pushing it back from the scheduled July 1st deadline. There are reports that Chief Justice Roberts might issue a judgment on the stay (but not the underlying merits of Bannon’s case) as early as Wednesday afternoon.

It is no secret that Bannon is a powerful voice for the MAGA movement.  His show, War Room, regularly commands the attention of hundreds of thousands of the MAGA faithful on the daily.  His platform, which he analogizes to a central command hub in a war of information, is a potent weapon in the MAGA media arsenal, especially so down the home stretch of a pivotal election year, where the stakes are at their highest in living memory.

Obviously, the timing of the matter is everything.  By taking out Bannon’s crucial voice just five months out from Election Day, Biden is hoping to defuse one of President Trump’s most effective Generals.

It is the ultimate kill shot.  The 2020 election, even with the fraud included, was decided by far less than one hundred thousand votes — Bannon’s daily viewership, dispersed over a handful of key battleground states.

And while that is not to suggest that Bannon’s audience matches with the constituency of decisive Trump voters that can tilt the scales in his favor, it is to say that Bannon’s megaphone booms loudly across the world of politics – where the medium is the message.  And where Bannon’s medium has for years punched well above its weight, giving established right-of-center juggernauts like Fox News, a run for its money.

It is not a stretch to say, at this juncture, War Room has more pull than Fox in terms of shaping the general narrative for the movement – a far more important gauge for measuring political influence than mere ratings.

Whether you love him or hate him, Bannon’s political prosecution – like Peter Navarro’s before him – should concern everyone on the right.  Heck, it should concern anyone – of any partisan persuasion – who cares about preserving our precious freedoms, due process, the right to speak freely, and the prospect of free and fair justice — all of which are on the chopping block with his prosecution.

Even though he is the latest culprit of a long list of casualties targeted by the weaponized justice system, he is almost certainly not the last.  The lengths, however, that the Left has gone to silence him speaks not just to his influence, but perhaps more importantly (and insidiously), speaks to how they are willing to use power to get their desired result by any means necessary, regardless of all the collateral damage to every sacred norm along the way.

The Left could not care any less about the rule of law or the preservation of our democratic institutions or norms.  They speak only one language: power, and their modus operandi is to do whatever it takes to augment their power – that is it.

A foe like that will only ever respond to a strong counterforce, one that can equal if not surpass its own ambitions.  Currently, the impulse in our politics is to tear down anyone who so much as dares to rise, even just a little bit, above the rest of the pack.

This in part accounts for so much of the infighting observed on the Right; it also explains the hostility on the Left directed at Bannon, who has made himself an enemy and bogeyman of not just liberals and Democrats, but of many establishment Republicans as well.

He helped orchestrate the ouster of Speaker Kevin McCarthy.  He has held McCarthy’s successor, Mike Johnson’s, feet to the fire – calling him out, as often as necessary, whenever the current Speaker fails to meet his own stated promises (a common occurrence).

House Republicans have every tool at their disposal to end this unjust prosecution of Bannon at once.  Ultimately, if Bannon does face any jail time, it will be for a lack of will on part of House Republican Leadership.  Any conservative, any patriotic American, should find that prospect repulsive.

The United States House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack is, for all intents and purposes, disbanded.  Its two Democrats masquerading as Republican members have been forced out of politics for good.  Its findings have been overwhelmingly discredited, with more Americans seeing through its lies each and every day.  House Republicans should do the right thing and revoke the subpoena power of that sham committee once and for all.

Appearances are everything, both in the law and in politics – even if Bannon is ultimately vindicated of the charges, Republicans should by now know not to give their enemy any unnecessary advantage — not even an inch.  Politics is war by other means.

Although we should never cease making overtures for national unity, we cannot ignore the harsh realities of our time – in which the political flames are quite hot.  This demands the sort of aggressive action that would entail protecting our own, no matter the cost, and to win.  In Bannonspeak: attack, attack, attack!

After all, that is how the other side plays.  It is high time our side wises up and does the same.

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Paul Ingrassia is a Constitutional Scholar; a two-time Claremont Fellow, and is on the Board of Advisors of the New York Young Republican Club and the Italian American Civil Rights League. He writes a widely read Substack that is regularly re-truthed by President Trump. Follow him on X @PaulIngrassia, Substack, Truth Social, Instagram, and Rumble.

You can email Paul Ingrassia here, and read more of Paul Ingrassia's articles here.


Thanks for sharing!