Steve Bannon’s trial begins: Live updates
Proceedings began Monday with jury selection at the federal courthouse in Washington, DC. Twenty-two potential jurors have been found, and the 12 that make up the jury and two alternates will be selected Tuesday morning. Opening statements will begin soon after.
Remember: The case is a major test of what leverage Congress has when a witness evades a House subpoena. Bannon’s is the first of two similar House select committee subpoena cases to head to trial; a contempt case against former White House trade adviser Peter Navarro is still in its early stages.
Prosecutors pledge that their case against Bannon will be presented succinctly, over just a few days, with only two or three prosecution witnesses. That list includes House committee investigators.
It’s unknown how extensive Bannon’s defense will be, or if he will want to take the stand in his own defense. He will not be able to force House members to testify, the judge has said.
Early in the case, Bannon vowed to make the proceedings the “misdemeanor from hell for (Attorney General) Merrick Garland, (House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi and (President) Joe Biden.” But at a recent court hearing, his defense attorney David Schoen complained, “What’s the point of going to trial here if there is no defense?”
Bannon — who accepted an 11th-hour pardon from Trump in 2021 as he was facing conspiracy wire fraud and money laundering charges in Manhattan’s federal court related to a border wall fundraising scheme — has made a series of attempts in court in recent days to stop the trial, to fashion more of a defense, or to prepare for possible appeals.
So far, US District Judge Carl J. Nichols has overwhelmingly sided with the Justice Department on what evidence the jury can hear, cutting off Bannon’s ability to try to defer to advice his attorney gave him or to use internal DOJ policies on presidential advisers that he hoped might protect him.
Bannon’s ability to bring up arguments about executive privilege will be, at best, severely limited. Bannon was not a government official during the period the committee is probing.