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News Every Day |

GOP's Hail Mary bid to skirt Bannon's prison term hinges on 'striking position': reporter



Steve Bannon's emergency efforts to stay out of prison got a boost from Republican Party leaders including House Speaker Mike Johnson and Rep. Barry Loudermilk, who launched efforts to reject the previous congress’s handling of the Jan. 6 select committee.

Bannon, former adviser to Donald Trump, was convicted nearly two years ago of two counts of contempt of Congress. One count was for refusing to sit for a deposition with the Jan. 6 House Committee while the other was for refusing to hand over documents related to his involvement in efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

This month, Bannon learned he will not serve his four-month prison sentence in one of the more highly-sought "Club Fed" facilities he'd hoped for, but would instead head to the same prison in Danbury, Connecticut, that housed the woman whose memoir inspired the hit Netflix series, "Orange Is the New Black." He is to surrender July 1.

Bannon has blasted the case as politically motivated. His attorney has also said the case raises “serious constitutional issues” that ought to be looked at by the Supreme Court.

On Wednesday, Johnson said in a statement that the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group voted to file an amicus brief with the D.C. Circuit in the case against Bannon. That brief was to be submitted after Bannon petitioned for "rehearing en banc and will be in support of neither party."

Also read: ‘Creepy weirdos’: Senator fears Trump WH staff would destroy government from ‘inside’

"It will withdraw certain arguments made by the House earlier in the litigation about the organization of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol during the prior Congress," Johnson said, adding that House Republican leaders continue to "believe Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi abused her authority when organizing the Select Committee."

In other words, Johnson and House GOP leaders believe that the Jan.6 committee was illegally constituted, so Bannon’s conviction for contempt of Congress, they believe, should be thrown out. The notion of trying to invalidate the committee was also floated this month by Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz.

In a post on X, Rep. Barry Loudermilk wrote that the Jan. 6 committee "failed to comply with the rules governing its own procedures, making the prosecution of Steve Bannon invalid."

"My amicus brief will hold the former Select Committee accountable and nullify their deeply flawed work," he said.

Gaetz lauded the move, writing on X that Johnson "did such a good thing here."

"Should have been done DAY ONE of Republican control."

"We are finally beginning to clean up the mess and remediate the harm of the J6 UnSelect/Illegal Committee."

Gaetz called Loudermilk the "right guy" to file the amicus brief, with help from Stephen Miller's America First Legal group. He expressed optimism about Bannon's fortunes, saying the strongest part of the brief is that House members "didn’t know at the time, because Benny Thompson didn’t tell them, that under House rules Steve Bannon had never factually been legally subpoenaed!"

"This is HUGE!"

The move was predictably met with jeers on social media, including from Politico senior legal affairs reporter Kyle Cheney, who quipped that Loudermilk adopted a "striking position for anyone in Congress: If a witness believes that a subpoena is invalid, it's totally OK for them to blow it off."

Many agreed, including @DanielAFee1 who tweeted: "Loudermilk, you mean the January 5th Capitol tour director?Count me as shocked [face screaming in fear emoji](not really)."

The tweet referenced Loudermilk's role in leading a tour through parts of the Capitol building a day before the insurrection when it was supposed to be closed to visitors due to pandemic restrictions. Loudermilk denied having led any “reconnaissance” tour, was subpoenaed by the panel along with four other lawmakers, and acknowledged he took a small group of constituents around House office buildings on Jan. 5, but said they “immediately turned back” upon seeing “chaos” unfolding at the rally.

"Loudermilk is full of beans and KGB* disinformation whether he realizes it or not," wrote @TGraves_4321.

"Loudermilk was the one giving tours of like staircases and security checkpoints around the Capitol the day before the Jan 6 attack right? So of course he’d have this take," wrote @GinaS1116.

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