Former White House advisor Stephen K. Bannon offered to testify Saturday before the January 6 Committee, after President Donald Trump relinquished executive privilege. This was a change of heart and a reversal in tenacious, long-standing stance.
Bannon and According to The New York Times , will likely testify behind closed door, just like all the other witnesses before being selectively edited, sometimes misleadingly, for publication. Trump is the only side on this panel.
The sudden about-face for Bannon came as his trial for contempt of Congress was about to begin on July 18. Bannon, Peter Navarro, the former Trump economic advisor, will be facing contempt charges. However, the Department of Justice has declined to indict Democrats for similar offenses — which includes former Attorney General Eric Holder who withheld documents regarding the unsuccessful Operation Fast & Furious and Lois Lerner from the IRS, who were part of a plan to attack conservatives.
It’s unclear what effect Bannon’s testimony will have on his criminal case. Bannon could face up to two years imprisonment and fines regardless of whether he changes his mind. When he was arrested last year, he vowed to make his trial the “misdemeanor from hell” for the Biden administration; early motions in the trial sought to force the government to release documents relating to law enforcement activities surrounding the Capitol riot, and internal correspondence of the January 6 Committee itself.
Bannon, and other people who object to the subpoenas, argued that this committee was illegal and unconstitutional. The group also claimed that the executive privilege of former President Trump was valid and is not subject to his successor’s will.
When he was arrested in November, Bannon was defiant: “Not just Trump people and not just conservatives — every progressive, every liberal in this country that likes freedom of speech and liberty should be fighting for this case. This is why I am here today. I won’t back down
The January 6 Committee has sought to portray Bannon as the center of a conspiracy to force Congress to overturn the result of the 2020 presidential election. He allegedly operated a “war room” at a hotel near the Capitol, and warned on a Jan. 5, 2021 podcast that “all hell is going to break loose tomorrow.”
Bannon was also the former executive chairman of Breitbart News before being hired as CEO of the Trump campaign in 2016. He led that campaign to victory, and oversaw White House strategy during the first months of Trump’s administration.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. PST). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.