When it comes to events surrounding the Jan. 6 insurrection, there are some whose involvement remains unclear. Did Rep. Lauren Boebert lead future insurgents on a tour of the Capitol in order to help them identify the shortest route to the people they wanted to hang? Not certain. There are others who will pretend that their calls to storming the Capitol and spilling a swimming pool of patriotic blood were purely metaphorical. Right, Rep. Mo Brooks?
And then there’s Steve Bannon.
The Trump campaign chair, shining with the glow of his last-minute pardon from the fraud he definitely committed, didn’t just assist a few would-be Mike Pence-hangers. He didn’t just get up there and sound the horn to get out there and fight like there was nothing but a commie-filled America-free tomorrow. He worked to create both the political crisis and the maddened crowd that placed the United States within a few seconds, and a handful of steps, of seeing members of Congress marched to a gallows on the Capitol lawn.
On Friday, Bannon was the undoubtedly proud recipient of one of the first four subpoenas handed out by the House Select Committee. However, giving the head of a Brussels-based fascist movement—tastefully called “The Movement”—a couple of weeks to decide whether he wants to make an appearance before a Congress he dismisses, or a court system he sneers about, seems like far too mild an approach.
Here’s a checklist of “fun” Steve Bannon moments, over just the last couple of years.
But that’s just the small stuff. Because Bannon’s involvement in the events around Jan. 6 easily trumps (yes, pun intended) even trying to abscond with an 800-year-old monastery as a base for bringing down the Catholic church and creating baby Hitlers.
To a large extent, the whole idea of using Jan. 6 as a lever to tip over democracy came from Bannon. As the recent book Peril reported, Bannon called up Trump on Dec. 30 and told him, “'You've got to call Pence off the f**king ski slopes and get him back here today. This is a crisis.”
The point of dragging Pence back—which happened—was to explain how Jan. 6 could be turned into “a reckoning.” Bannon explained to Trump how upsetting the prescribed process on Jan. 6 could “cast enough of a shadow over Biden’s victory” that it would cause millions of Americans to consider Biden an illegitimate president. They didn’t actually have to prove any election fraud. They only had to create a spectacle that would destroy faith in the system.
"People are going to go, 'What the f**k is going on here?'" said Bannon. "We're going to bury Biden on January 6th, f**king bury him."
But it doesn’t take going to the pages of a book to discover Bannon’s involvement in the attempted overthrow, because Bannon himself just keeps talking about it.
Bannon met with Trump and Rudy Giuliani in advance of the insurgency, with an open goal of destroying the American government.
As Newsweek reports, Bannon’s open admission is that he told the others “it's time to kill the Biden presidency in the crib." On his podcast platform, Bannon went on to brag about the success of his plan, claiming that “42% of the American people think that Biden did not win the presidency legitimately”—a belief supported by the actions on Jan. 6 to deliberately undermine that presidency.
As professor Lawrence Tribe points out. “It’d be hard to justify DOJ inaction in the face of this rapidly mounting evidence of a criminal conspiracy to commit sedition against the US Government and to give aid and comfort to an insurrection. See 18 USC secs. 2383 & 2384.”
Tribe’s name has recently been in the news because Trump attorney John Eastman distorted Tribe’s past statements in his attempt to declare Trump the “winner” by simply leaving off as many Biden states as it took to get the numbers they wanted. But there’s no misinterpreting what Tribe is saying here:
18 U.S. Code § 2383 - Rebellion or insurrection
Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or comfort thereto, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.
18 U.S. Code § 2384 - Seditious conspiracy
If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.
Bannon, Trump, Giuliani, Eastman … they all engaged in a seditious conspiracy, a plan that Bannon spelled out with the declared intent of destroying the lawful government of the United States.
It’s worth noting that, in their schemes, neither Bannon nor Eastman even attempted to make a case that Trump had actually won, or that there had been anything like the level of fraud Giuliani was claiming. Both plans were simply to cripple the United States by creating confusion and distrust.
It’s almost what you might expect from someone who said this:
“Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.”
It’s past time to stop sending Steve Bannon subpoenas and start sending him to jail. Let Eastman fight with Giuliani over who has be his cellmate.