Steven Bannon, the former advisor to Donald Trump who helped turn the neo-fascist billionaire into a mainstream political entity, is expected to be indicted this week on new charges relating to his alleged scam to build a wall on private property at the U.S.-Mexico border, according to a new report from the Washington Post. Why is he being indicted? If you listen to Bannon, it’s because his podcast is simply too powerful and the Democrats are scared of the things he’s saying.
Bannon was pardoned by Trump after being charged with fraud for a scheme to crowdfund a privately-built portion of the U.S.-Mexico border wall. Bannon allegedly took about $1 million from the campaign before he was indicted for wire fraud and money laundering but didn’t even get to trial before Trump issued a pardon.
“Just days after being swatted three different times by deranged thugs from New York City inspired by the Biden Administration to assassinate me by police, the Soros-backed DA has now decided to pursue phoney charges against me 60 days before the midterm election because WarRoom is the major source of the MAGA grassroots movement,” Bannon told NBC News in a statement late Tuesday.
Swatting refers to the practice of falsely calling the police on a given residence and describing an extreme scenario (often kidnapping or murder), with the hope that police will escalate the imaginary situation and shoot whoever lives there. Far-right congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene from Georgia has also been a victim of swatting at least twice in recent weeks.
“The SDNY did the exact same thing in August 2020 to try to take me out of the election. It didn’t work then, it certainly won’t work now. This is nothing more than a partisan political weaponization of the criminal justice system,” Bannon continued.
Bannon’s statement went on about “the wall” he wants to see expanded at the U.S.-Mexico borer before getting into the real tough guy talk.
“They are coming after all of us, not only President Trump and myself. I am never going to stop fighting. In fact, I have not yet begun to fight. They will have to kill me first,” Bannon said.
Bannon is expected to surrender to police in New York on Thursday, according to the Washington Post, though the exact charges Bannon faces haven’t been announced yet.
Bannon hosts a podcast called WarRoom: Pandemic where he frequently peddles pro-Trump conspiracy theories and speaks with fringe figures on the far-right. The 68-year-old often speaks about the threat of the Chinese Communist Party to the United States, which is pretty funny considering Trump’s recent comments at a rally where he praised China’s authoritarian leader Xi Xinping for being “smart” and ruling “with an iron fist.”
The latest episode of Bannon’s podcast, which is available on the alt-right YouTube-alternative known as Rumble, includes guests Nigel Farage, Sarah Palin, and Miranda Devine. What kind of dangerous ideas did they discuss that Democrats in New York must keep the public from hearing? Farage complained that Albanians were illegally entering the UK to work for criminal organizations, Palin rambled incoherently about ranked-choice voting before asking listeners to fund her ridiculous congressional campaign in Alaska, and Devine insisted Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden was a criminal mastermind. Needless to say, you can see why the Democrats would be terrified of this podcast—it’s riveting stuff.
Rumors first emerged back in February of 2021—a year and a half ago now—that despite Bannon’s federal pardon, he might still face charges by the New York Attorney General. And it looks like those rumors have proved correct, even if it’s a great example of how slow the wheels of justice turn.
And while Bannon’s podcast is often ridiculous, it can indeed be dangerous in other ways. Bannon, who was recently found guilty on two charges of contempt of Congress, has quite a history of inflammatory language on his podcast, including the time he called for some public health officials to be executed.
“Second term kicks off with firing Wray, firing Fauci,” Bannon said shortly before the 2020 presidential election. “Now I actually want to go a step farther but I realize the president is a kind-hearted man and a good man.”
“I’d actually like to go back to the old times of Tudor England. I’d put the heads on pikes, right, I’d put them at the two corners of the White House as a warning to federal bureaucrats. You either get with the program or you’re gone. Time to stop playing games. Blow it all up, put Ric Grenell today as the interim head of the FBI. That’ll light them up, right?” Bannon continued.
Bannon hasn’t called for President Biden to be executed, but he did say on his latest episode that it would soon be Bill Barr and Christopher Wray’s “time in the barrel.” Barr, Trump’s former Attorney General, and Wray, Trump’s appointee to head the FBI and current head of the FBI, have both put up the most mild resistance against Trump’s latest rhetoric.
“I’m always concerned about threats to law enforcement,” Wray said in early August about threats made against the FBI after the raid of Trump’s home for illegally held classified documents. “Violence against law enforcement is not the answer, no matter who you’re upset with.”
It wasn’t exactly a call to mutiny against Trump. But Bannon clearly saw it differently. And Barr’s recent criticism was just as lukewarm, acknowledging that it’s a problem when a former president tries to hold on to highly classified documents, as Trump has done.
“I don’t think the appointment of a special master is going to hold up – but even if it does, I don’t see it fundamentally changing the trajectory,” Barr said on Tuesday, referring to the latest ruling that sided with Trump’s desire for an independent “special master” to withhold documents from the Department of Justice.
“In other words, I don’t think it changes the ball game so much as maybe we’ll have a rain delay for a couple of innings,” Barr continued.
Again, not exactly a strong rebuke of Trump or Trumpism. But Bannon knows he needs to keep guys like Barr and Wray in line. They may have been appointed by Trump and they may even still vote for him, as stunning as that sounds, but there can’t be the slightest bit of daylight between Trump’s stooges and the man himself. That’s simply how authoritarianism works.