Tag: steve bannon
Steve Bannon

How The GOP Culture Of Impunity Coddles Crooked Steve Bannon

Among right-wing Republicans, the impending incarceration of Stephen K. Bannon has provoked a torrent of sputtering rage.

"I stand with Steve Bannon!" was the defiant slogan barked by scores of prominent figures on the right, after a federal judge ordered the fascist media personality and adviser to former President Donald Trump to report to federal prison, where he is to begin serving a four-month sentence for contempt of Congress on July 1. Bannon has begged the Supreme Court to review his case — and perhaps the corrupt justices will answer his plea, although he is clearly guilty of refusing to testify before the House Select Committee on the Jan. 6 insurrection, which he helped to instigate.

But there is a peculiar aspect to the outpouring of support for Bannon on the right. Whether he goes to prison next month or not, he will soon face state charges of fraud, money laundering and conspiracy, in the same New York courtroom where Trump was convicted on 34 felony counts last month.

What makes this prosecution so compelling is that the victims defrauded in the swindle allegedly perpetrated by Bannon and his three confederates were all devoted followers of Trump. These MAGA faithful were deceived into believing their money would go to construction of a wall along our southern border. Instead, donations to "We Build the Wall" disappeared into the accounts of its sponsors, including Bannon, who had sworn publicly not to accept any payment, salary, or remuneration for his great patriotic effort.

To describe this multimillion-dollar fraud scheme as "alleged" is a journalistic formality. It is the same criminal conspiracy that led to convictions years ago for Bannon's coconspirators Andrew Badolato, Timothy Shea, and a disabled veteran named Brian Kolfage, who gorged themselves on the contributions of hundreds of thousands of true-believing conservatives — and misused that money to buy luxury vehicles, cosmetic surgery, a golf cart, hotel accommodations, jewelry and lots of other goodies. (The appalling history of Bannon's bunco scheme is detailed in my new book,The Longest Con: How Grifters, Swindlers and Frauds Hijacked American Conservatism.)

Following their indictment by federal prosecutors in August 2020 — under the Trump Justice Department — the defendants at first blustered about a "political hit job" and a "weaponized judicial system," much as Bannon still does every day, along with screaming threats to jail Democrats, reporters and prosecutors. But after their lawyers perused the copious evidence compiled by investigators, Kolfage and Badolato quietly made plea agreements.

"I knew what I was doing was wrong and a crime," Kolfage eventually told the court when he pled guilty. "I knew this was wrong, and I'm terribly, terribly sorry for what I did, and I humbly beg the court for mercy," Badolato whined. Shea went to trial, a big mistake that ended in his October 2021 conviction at trial and a sentence of five years.

Bannon alone escaped, at least temporarily, after Trump bestowed a preemptive pardon on "Sloppy Steve" during his final hours in the White House. (Dirty trickster Roger Stone, also a Trump adviser and likewise the beneficiary of presidential clemency, publicly accused Bannon of blackmailing Trump to get the pardon, calling him a "grifter scumbag.")

But New York prosecutors, wise to the former president's misuse of his pardon power to reward those who might have testified against him, proceeded to indict Bannon under state racketeering statutes for perpetrating his "We Build the Wall" fraud in the Empire State.

No doubt Bannon's attorneys can muster some legal arguments against a state indictment that essentially recapitulates federal charges, just as they have argued he wasn't obliged to answer a congressional subpoena. And nobody should be surprised by the hypocrisy of Republicans who want to impeach Biden administration officials for rebuffing congressional summons, while simultaneously excusing Bannon's defiance.

Even if Bannon's acceptance of the Trump pardon were not an admission of guilt — as it surely is — prosecutors have assembled an overwhelming pile of evidence, which sent his three coconspirators to prison. There are bank documents showing illicit money transfers, incriminating text messages showing how the scam worked, and wire records showing how Bannon abused a nonprofit he controlled to funnel money into his personal account.

Still, he not only remains popular among the MAGA mob but is lionized by congressional Republicans, "conservative" celebrities and institutional leaders who flock to his "War Room" studio on Capitol Hill. In the Trump era, there is no accountability on the right, no social sanction against felonious misconduct. The miscreants can pretend to be innocent victims, their followers can pretend to believe them, and the culture of impunity spreads like a toxic plume over our nation.



Reprinted with permission from Creators.

Heading To Prison, Furious Bannon Sputters Threats Of Retribution

Heading To Prison, Furious Bannon Sputters Threats Of Retribution

Steve Bannon is due to report to federal prison on July 1 to begin a four-month prison sentence for contempt of Congress. But he clearly has plenty of contempt remaining to give, and he’s directing it at the entire legal system.

On his “War Room” podcast on Saturday, Bannon turned his anger toward former FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, threatening both with imprisonment or worse. "Get your passport, get the hell out of the country because hey, we're coming,” Bannon said, warning that a second Trump term would mean that Comey and McCabe would be targeted for persecution.

Bannon’s statements may seem like a tantrum being thrown by someone about to spend several long weeks in a very small room, but his statements are concerning to law enforcement officials. They serve as a reminder that when Donald Trump and his associates talk about “revenge” and “retribution” they don’t mean seeing that political opponents face the consequences of any illegal actions; They mean going after political opponents simply for being political opponents.

“We will hunt you down," Bannon said.

Bannon appeared to be angered by an appearance McCabe made on CNN’s The Source in which the former FBI deputy director expressed concern over what a second Trump term would mean for the rule of law. In particular, McCabe responded to a question from host Kaitlan Collins about the dangers represented by Trump’s calls for retribution.

McCabe called Trump’s recent comments “offensive and horrendous,” while saying that they were not surprising. “You know him,” McCabe said. “You know what motivates him. He is not a person who is driven by principle or ideology. He is someone, who's entirely transactional, that if he feels like he's been wronged, in some way, then he focuses on revenge, and vengeance. And so, he's made it perfectly clear that that's what he's going to do.”

McCabe warned that in his efforts to obtain revenge Trump “runs the risk of really dismantling and greatly incapacitating the Department of Justice and the FBI.”

But for Trump and his supporters, that’s a feature, not a bug. Turning the DOJ into a weapon and the FBI into the police force that can be used against anyone who opposes Trump is exactly what they have in mind.

Bannon didn’t appreciate McCabe pointing out the plan.

“Why is Andrew McCabe, Mr. Tough Guy, Mr. FBI Tough Guy wetting himself on national TV?” Bannon asked. “He's damn scared because he understands the end is near.”

These threats followed Trump’s appearance alongside “Dr. Phil” McGraw during which the television therapist attempted to get Trump to swear off revenge.

“I think you have so much to do,” said McGraw. “You don’t have time to get even.”

“Well, revenge does take time, I will say that,” Trump admitted. “And sometimes revenge can be justified, Phil. I have to be honest. Sometimes it can.”

During the criminal trial in which he was found guilty on 34 counts, Trump was under a gag order for his attempts to intimidate witnesses and threaten the families of court officials. But even as the judge attempted to protect the justice system—and innocent bystanders—from Trump’s anger, a long line of Republican surrogates made regular appearances outside the courtroom to keep the threats alive.

But if Trump was limiting himself to generating anger against those connected to his case in the hope that his followers would respond with violence, Bannon isn’t being that “subtle.” He’s not being vague either.

He’s just making overt threats.

“Go ahead, go to the ends of the earth,” Bannon said. “We will hunt you down and bring you back and you will stand accountable before the American people.”

Bannon is also not trying to make any pretense that this is about justice. It’s about revenge. It’s about seeing that anyone opposed to Trump is silenced.

“Lock them up” is so 2016.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Bannon: Arrogance, Greed And Stainless Steel Toilets

Bannon: Arrogance, Greed And Stainless Steel Toilets

Steve Bannon, onetime Breitbart media honcho, onetime Trump campaign manager, onetime White House aide, current operator of a right-wing conspiracy podcast lie factory, has been ordered to jail by the judge in his contempt of Congress case. Bannon must report to an as yet unnamed federal lockup by July 1st to begin serving a four-month sentence.

Bannon was convicted of contempt of Congress for refusing to honor a subpoena from the House Select Committee investigating the insurrection at the Capitol. Bannon had made no secret of his presence in a so-called war room in the Warwick Hotel in Washington on Jan. 5, along with such luminaries as Rudy Giuliani and the head of the Three Percenters militia group, and it was reported that the Jan. 6 Committee had questions about what transpired in the so-called war room in the days preceding the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by a violent mob of Trump supporters.

Bannon was convicted of contempt of Congress in 2022 and last month lost in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which in a 3-0 decision rejected his appeal of his conviction. Bannon announced at the time that his lawyer would file an en banc appeal to the full D.C. Circuit Court, and to the U.S. Supreme Court if that fails. The judge in Bannon’s case, Carl J. Nichols, took note of the loss of appeals to the D.C. Circuit and the Supreme Court by Peter Navarro, who was convicted of the same contempt of Congress offense that Bannon was found guilty of. Navarro is currently serving a four-month sentence in a Miami prison. Judge Nichols was appointed to the federal bench by Donald Trump, as was one of the three judges voting in the unanimous D.C. Circuit Court that rejected Bannon’s appeal.

Bannon also faces trial in the same Manhattan courthouse in which Donald Trump was convicted on 34 felony counts last week. Bannon has been charged with fraud for taking money from contributions made to a phony foundation he ran that promised to help build Trump’s wall on the border with Mexico. The charges allege that Bannon and a partner converted more than 1 million dollars in contributions to their own use for luxury car payments, private jets, hotel rooms, and expensive restaurant meals. Bannon faced similar federal charges in 2020 but was pardoned before he could face trial by Trump in January of 2021 just before he left office. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg brought a six-count indictment against Bannon for money laundering and conspiracy to defraud in 2022. The judge in Bannon’s Manhattan case is Juan Merchan, the same judge who presided over the trial of Donald Trump last month.

Outside the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals last month, Bannon told reporters “There’s nothing that can shut me up, there’s not a prison built or a jail built that will shut me up. All victory to MAGA!”

Well, at least Bannon won’t have to worry about remembering to leave the toilet seat up – or down, as the case may be – for his fellow inmates when he begins his sentence on July 1st. Stainless steel toilets in federal prisons don’t have seats. Federal prisons don’t have podcast studios, either.

Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter. He has covered Watergate, the Stonewall riots, and wars in Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels. You can subscribe to his daily columns at luciantruscott.substack.com and follow him on Twitter @LucianKTruscott and on Facebook at Lucian K. Truscott IV.

Please consider subscribing to Lucian Truscott Newsletter, from which this is reprinted with permission.

Marjorie Taylor Greene

Margie Rips Fellow Republicans And 'Sold Out' Speaker On Bannon Show

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene spoke with alleged conman and former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon on his “War Room” show Monday. The interview was what anthropologists might call … bananas.

Greene, who is hopping mad about everything, always, is almost incoherently angry that over the weekend, Congress finally passed long-delayed foreign aid funding for our allies in Ukraine. Greene characterized sending aid to Ukraine as throwing good money after bad.

“It doesn't guarantee a Ukrainian victory because everyone knows they're going to lose eventually. It just is a matter of when," she whined.

Bannon and Greene then spent the rest of the interview accusing House Speaker Mike Johnson and his Republican supporters of not being MAGA enough. Greene seems to talk only with people who agree with her.

I've not seen people this angry since November of 2020. I mean, they are off the charts, off the charts, angry ...They're angry on a whole 'nother level. And here's what really worries me. They're done with the Republican Party. They are absolutely done with Republican leadership. Like Mike Johnson, who totally sold us out to the Democrats, would join the “uniparty” faster than anyone we've ever seen in history, and literally made a night and day change in a matter of months, betrayed everyone, betrayed the entire Republican Party, betrayed Republican voters, betrayed the Republican conference. And voters are so angry this time that I'm really worried. I am really worried. They're so angry. They're not going to give us the majority back in 2025.

Bannon says that there are no longer two major political parties, identifiable as Democrats and Republicans. Instead, it is a war between the “populist nationalists” and “globalist elite.” Greene fears Johnson’s leadership is going to lose the GOP control of Congress.

Those voters are America first, and they are fed up. They're absolutely done. They are hardcore ready to vote for Trump. They're going to jump over every, every hurdle put in front of them to vote for Trump. But they—they are very likely, a lot of them, are going to be skipping the downballot races, which is terrifying.

After fearmongering against her own political party, Greene offered up this bold prediction:

Here's what's happening, Steve. The Republican Party of old is over. It's our job to build the new Republican Party. And that new Republican Party will be MAGA.

Will this fix our government and help improve the lives of Americans? Bannon and Greene don’t seem to be interested in covering that question.

Steve Bannon interviews Marjorie Taylor Greene—it is bananas

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

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