In face of the upcoming trial of Steve Bannon for two counts of contempt of the Congress, a leaked audio recording from the election week in 2020 has shed even more light on the former Breitbart chairman’s role in the lead-up to the January 6 assault on the Capitol. The audio file, which was obtained by the left-leaning outlet Mother Jones, shows Bannon laughingly declare his knowledge of then-President Trump’s plans to fraudulently cling to a pre-contrived narrative regardless of the actual results of the elections. ‘What Trump’s gonna do is just declare victory, right?’ the popular right-wing activist and podcaster can be heard in a private conversation just days prior to the November Presidential Election day.
Last weekend, Mr. Bannon started what has widely been called a ‘ploy’ and a ‘gimmick’ to potentially help his defence during the upcoming trial, by ostensibly agreeing to testify before the Committee after former President Trump allegedly waived his ‘executive privilege’. The 67-year old conservative leader could face up to a year in imprisonment and a $100,000 fine for each of the two charges he faces for repeatedly ignoring subpoenas by the January 6 House Committee investigating the Capitol riot. The former Trump advisor was indicted last November, and the trial is expected to begin Monday with the jury selection.
The audio recording has yet to be scrutinised for potential criminal liability, but the leak has already been used by Bannon’s lawyers as a defence. This latest attempt follows many recent efforts at postponing the trial, including alleging potential bias in the future jury due to the release of some of Bannon’s previous comments during the Committee hearings this Tuesday, as well as the release of an upcoming CNN documentary on Bannon this Sunday. The Justice Department has strongly rejected these ‘last-minute efforts’ at distraction and barred the defendant from making two of his key arguments in front of the jury. Washington, D.C. district judge Carl Nichols ordered the trial to be held Monday without delay, expressing confidence in the jury selection process for filtering out any potential biases.