Steve Bannon wants to turn his trial into a 'political circus,' House Democrats' lawyer argues
- A US House lawyer said a judge should reject
Steve Bannon's request to subpoena members for his trial.
- Bannon is headed to trial July 18 for refusing to comply with a
January 6 committeesubpoena.
Steve Bannon is seeking to turn his upcoming trial on contempt of Congress charges into a "political circus," the House of Representatives' top lawyer argued Monday, pushing back against the former Trump advisor's attempt to call lawmakers to testify in court.
"It seems clear that Mr. Bannon's trying to turn this into some kind of political circus," argued House general counsel Doug Letter. "That cannot be allowed."
Letter appeared in federal court in Washington, DC, on Monday as Bannon prepares to stand trial, beginning July 18, on a pair of criminal contempt of Congress charges stemming from his defiance of the
As the high-profile proceeding drew near, Bannon issued subpoenas last month to 16 lawmakers and staff — including Speaker
The subpoenas gave rise to a separate case connected to Bannon's trial, with House lawyers arguing that the Constitution's speech or debate clause shields lawmakers from questioning.
In court papers, Bannon's lawyers argued that House lawmakers waived that constitutional protection by filing an unusual amicus brief that backed up the
On Monday, Letter pointed again to the speech or debate clause's protections, saying "Mr. Bannon's argument is with the Constitution itself."
The hearing before Judge
Bannon's executive privilege claims have been disputed, in part because he only served in the White House in 2017, years before Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election and the January 6 attack.
In an overnight court filing, federal prosecutors also said that Trump lawyer Justin Clark told the FBI in a June 29 interview that the former president "never invoked executive privilege over any particular information or materials" related to Bannon, "and that the former President's counsel made clear to the Defendant's attorney that the letter provided no basis for total noncompliance."
Nichols asked Monday whether he should delay Bannon's trial in light of his last-minute offer to testify. Bannon's lawyer David Schoen argued that proceeding with the trial on July 18 would run "contrary to the constitutionally-mandated accommodation process."
But federal prosecutors and House lawyers said that the 11th-hour offer should not sidetrack the trial, arguing that Bannon cannot reverse his outright defiance of the January 6 committee last year, that he still hasn't produced documents demanded in the subpoena, and that the offer amounted to mere "optics."
His recent offer to testify has "no bearing on the criminal case," said assistant US attorney Molly Gaston.
Letter said later in the hearing that the House "has no reason to think that it is appropriate for the trial to be postponed."
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