Home News Bye-bye Bannon: Former Trump aide heads where he belongs

Bye-bye Bannon: Former Trump aide heads where he belongs



Steve Bannon, the relentless right-wing operator and provocateur who’s dedicated his career to advancing the cause of an American version of fascism, has been ordered by a federal judge to serve out his four-month prison conviction.

The sentence is from years ago when a jury convicted Bannon on two counts of contempt of Congress, but Bannon managed to tie things up in appeals. Now, he will have to join fellow former Trump aide Peter Navarro in serving the same sentence for defying Congress.

It really does seem that many of these people simply expected not to have to face any consequences for their actions. The possibility of an actual criminal process and penalties up to and including incarceration for their conduct seemed impossible, because they believed themselves to be special, untouchable by something as pedestrian as the laws that constrained everyone else.

This belief didn’t come out of nowhere, reinforced as it was by decades of getting away with everything and then having their proudly unaccountable leader in the Oval Office.

Bannon, charged in a scheme to rip off Trump fans who thought they were contributing to building a border wall, was pardoned by Donald Trump on Jan. 20, 2021 — Trump’s last day in office and two weeks after the insurrectionist mob that Bannon and Trump had sack the Capitol. It was Congress’ effort to investigate that attack that led to Bannon’s conviction on contempt charges, after he refused to honor a congressional subpoena.

Congress had good reason for the request; Bannon has long prided himself for being something of an ultra-right organizer and agitator, and had a direct hand in strategizing on the push to invalidate the election. His assertion of executive privilege is laughable, and both Congress and a jury were right to reject it.

MAGA-in-chief Trump himself has now of course also joined the ranks of the convicted, having been found guilty of 34 felony counts of falsifying business records for his efforts to cover up his affair with an adult actress in the run-up to the 2016 election.

It turns out that he, too, was not untouchable, although it’s very likely that these are the only charges that voters will get to see through before they cast their ballots in November. The multiple other cases related to Trump’s mishandling of classified documents and attempts to subvert American democracy have been delayed and derailed.

There’s a tendency to describe this as due to procedural issues, and while that may be technically true, this makes it sound like these are natural and unavoidable obstacles as opposed to intentional meddling. Case in point, inexperienced Trump appointee Federal Judge Aileen Cannon, whom the former president got the good fortune of having assigned to his classified documents case, has been all too happy to lean on bizarre legal maneuvering to keep delaying the trial.

It’s clear that, MAGA rhetoric aside, voters do care very much about these criminal proceedings. New polls have shown that more than half of independents now think Trump should end his campaign in the wake of his conviction. This is the impact of accountability, and the clearest evidence that holding Trump accountable won’t make the sky fall or give him more power. This was an illusion that he long relied on, and now it is falling apart, bit by bit.

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