Steve Bannon seeks to make his upcoming trial on contempt of Congress charges a “political circus,” the House of Representatives ’top lawyer argued Monday, pushing against the former Trump advisor’s attempt to call the legislator to testify in court.
“It looks clear that Mr. Bannon is trying to make it some kind of political circus,” argued House general counsel Doug Letter. “That’s not allowed.”
The letter appeared in federal court in Washington, DC, Monday as Bannon prepares to face trial, beginning July 18, on a pair of criminal contempt cases in Congress that stemmed from his disobedience to the House committee last year. January 6.
As the high-profile trial approaches, Bannon issued subpoenas last month to 16 lawmakers and staff-including Speaker Nancy Pelosi and members of the House committee on Jan. 6-seeking their testimony and records.
The subpoenas resulted in a separate case connected to Bannon’s trial, in which Chambers’ lawyers argued that the Constitution’s speech or debate clause shielded lawmakers from questioning.
In court papers, Bannon’s lawyers argued that House lawmakers waived constitutional protection by filing an unusual amicus brief that backed up the Justice Department’s prosecution and described the arguments of Bannon for escaping criminal charges as “profound defect.”
On Monday, the Letter reiterated the speech protections or debate clause, stating “Mr. Bannon’s argument is in the Constitution itself.”
The hearing before Judge Carl Nichols, a Trump nominee confirmed in 2019, came just days after Bannon reversed course and agreed to testify before the House committee on Jan. 6. He explained about face after months of stonewalling, Bannon cited a letter from former President Donald Trump saying he would renounce claims of executive privilege.
Bannon’s claims to executive privilege have been controversial, in part because he only served in the White House in 2017, years before Trump’s effort to overthrow the 2020 election and the January 6 attack.
In an overnight court filing, federal prosecutors also said Trump’s attorney Justin Clark told the FBI in an interview on June 29 that the former president had “never sought executive privilege in any particular information or materials “relating to Bannon,” and that the former President was counsel. clarified to Defendant’s attorney that the letter did not provide a basis for total non -compliance. “
Nichols asked Monday if he should postpone Bannon’s trial because of his last -minute offer to testify. Bannon’s attorney David Schoen argued that the resumption of the trial on July 18 would run “contrary to the accommodation process mandated by the constitution.”
But federal prosecutors and Chamber attorneys said the 11th-hour offer should not interfere with the trial, arguing that Bannon could not reverse his outright disobedience to the committee on Jan. 6 last year, which did not he still makes the documents demanded in the subpoena, and that the offer is equivalent to “optics.”
Her recent offer to testify had “nothing to do with the criminal case,” assistant U.S. attorney Molly Gaston said.
The letter at the hearing said the Chamber “has no reason to think that the trial should be adjourned.”