Via therealtoriabrooke (Times are MT)
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 7:21 AM]
THREAD: United States of America v. Stephen K. Bannon, Day 2 — July 20, 2022.
Court is now in session.
Government would like to raise that multiple news sources reported last night that this case is politically motivated, per the defense’s opening statement, which is a concern of the government. Government raises the issue of bias and noting that the House of Representatives is not a political body. Judge will not bar defense from trying to show bias when cross-examining the witnesses. The government wants the defendant to proffer the exact questions he plans to ask regarding bias. Government says defendant is allowed to ask about investigations when there is exculpatory evidence, but says that defendant cannot when there is no exculpatory evidence that members of Congress did not vote to refer Bannon for contempt. Government argues that the vote of Congress for his contempt is irrelevant. Government raises the issue of Bennie Thompson and says Bannon has no proof of Thompson’s [involvement].
Judge to defense: Do you agree that bias has to be limited to a particular witness?
Defense says “In terms of bias, we’re able to ask anything that we find would bear on her credibility.” He’s referring to Kristin Amerling).
Judge says defense can only ask questions of bias per witness and cannot deviate and ask witness about other individuals involving bias. Judge says that the defense will have to proffer FIRST before asking those additional questions.
The defense argues that the 6th Amendment allows for the right for the defense to execute confrontation involving questioning and eliciting from the witnesses for Mr. Bannon.
Judge will take the government’s concerns under advisement; wants to hear the rest of Amerling’s testimony first. He says he does not intend for this to become a political circus or a [field day] for partisan politics.
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 7:30 AM]
Amerling is on the stand; we’re waiting for jury to be settled.
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 7:41 AM]
Government brings back Exhibit 2 which is already in evidence. It’s a letter sent on behalf of the committee. Government is referencing page 2 which is the actual subpoena for requesting documents related to J6 from Mr. Bannon. October 7, 2021 at 10:00 AM was the deadline. October 14, 2021 at 10:00 AM was the time of his deposition. Kristin Amerling put together this letter, but the Chairman of the committee, Bennie Thompson, signed the letter on behalf of the committee.
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 7:46 AM]
Amerling again is discussing the accusation that Bannon met with other private parties at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C. prior to J6 to try to plan ways to avoid the peaceful transfer of power.
🚨 Judge is noting to the Jury that this information is the committee’s POSITION, however it is not a fact that any of this information is true.
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 8:02 AM]
Amerling confirms that she played a part in putting together a bulleted list of how the committee was to focus their investigation on Bannon. One of the bullets discusses points about anything or anyone related to communications with President Donald Trump including financing, Trump’s remarks regarding attending J6, among other things. Since Bannon was in communication with Trump and other White House officials in the events leading up to J6, the committee wanted to question him in relation to these events. The committee still understood that Bannon was a private citizen. Steve Bannon’s War Room is now being discussed. Amerling says weeks leading up to J6, on War Room, Bannon said that the election was stolen and said “All hell was going to break loose tomorrow” on J6. Another bulleted point that Amerling is discussing notes that Steve Bannon had communications with Ezra Cohen-Watnick and Kash Patel. Amerling says that the committee is charged with investigating everything surrounding J6, and that this research informed the committee of [circumstances] regarding the “attack.”
The committee is alleging that Bannon was also connected to the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, Three Percenters, and Alex Jones.
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 8:08 AM]
Sidney Powell, General Flynn, and Jenna Ellis are also included in the discussion of who was in communication with Steve Bannon prior to J6. Amerling insists that these individuals are relevant simply because they also believed the election to have been stolen. #WitchHunt
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 8:27 AM]
Email shown on the screen of communications between Amerling and Bannon’s then-attorney, Robert Costello. The subpoena is the subject of the email. *Evidently, the subpoena was not ignored by Bannon. On September 23, the subpoena was issued. On September 24, Costello communicated that he was authorized to take the subpoena for the defendant. Amerling testifies under oath that Bannon never asked for an extension of this subpoena. Amerling also testifies under oath that there are instructions attached to the subpoena addressing the protocol for when/if the defendant could not produce the documents that the subpoena requested. Instruction 13 said that an explanation as to why compliance wouldn’t be possible would need to be provided as well as a date for when the defendant would be able to provide the material requested in the subpoena. Amerling says after the deadline passed, Mr. Costello emailed his correspondence to her. Prosecution admits Government Exhibit 4 into evidence, a 2-page letter and a copy of email correspondence between Costello and Amerling. After 5 PM on October 7, 2021, Costello sent the email stating “Please find my letter attached on behalf of Bannon [to the Committee].” Amerling insists that this email was after the deadline.
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 8:39 AM]
The issue of executive privilege is raised. Since Donald J. Trump held the privilege, the defense argued in the letter that he did not have to comply with the subpoena due to sensitive information. The committee rejected the defense’s privilege.
The government now publishes government Exhibit 5 into evidence, a letter from Chairman of the J6 Select Committee from Bennie Thompson on behalf of the committee to the defendant, reminding Bannon that he’s obligated to comply to the subpoena, or otherwise will be subjected to contempt. The letter says that Bannon’s “inappropriate” use of President Trump and privilege is [insufficient]. Thompson writes regardless of any privilege purported by Trump, Bannon must comply with the subpoenas.
The J6 committee urged that Bannon was willfully noncompliant.
🚨 The Judge wants to again tell the Jury that the PURPOSE of showing this letter is simply to show the committee’s POSITION. Judge reiterates that this letter does not by any way mean that the contents are true.
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 8:42 AM]
We’re on a 15 minute recess.
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 9:13 AM]
Court is back in session after its short recess. Amerling on the stand.
On October 8, the committee sent Bannon a letter. Amerling says that after the October 8 letter, Bannon did not communicate with the committee that he would comply, nor did he show up to his deposition on October 14. Amerling says that on October 13, the committee received an email from Bannon’s then-attorney Robert Costello (Government Exhibit 6 is admitted into evidence). The letter attached to the email stated that Bannon was not going to provide documents nor provide testimony. Bannon’s counsel said he would revisit the argument of privilege if Trump changed his position on the matter. Until then, he would not be providing what the subpoenas requested.
Government Exhibit 7 is now introduced into evidence: On October 15, the committee sent another letter notifying Bannon that the committee would be meeting on October 19 to consider a criminal referral resolution. Amerling was involved in putting this letter together, just as she had the previous emails that she emailed.
Judge notes the limiting instruction that he stated previously: the purpose of the letter is to only show the committee’s position, and does not assert that it’s all true.
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 9:16 AM]
Email communications were subsequently sent by the committee continuing to push that Bannon was in contempt of Congress. Committee insisted that they had not received communication from Trump on the basis of privilege.
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 9:24 AM]
Government Exhibit 8 is introduced into evidence. An email dated Monday, October 18, 2021 6:02 PM
Bannon’s counsel requested a 1 week adjournment on the committee’s requests in light of a newly filed lawsuit between Donald J. Trump and J6 Select Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson.
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 9:28 AM]
Worth noting the lawsuit between Trump and Bennie Thompson was about executive privilege.
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 9:50 AM]
Defense is now questioning Amerling. Corcoran notes that Bannon has not been charged with involvement in January 6th. He also makes it a point to confirm that no judge would be present at a congressional deposition to protect Bannon’s privilege of rights.
Amerling reiterates that the committee is authorized to continue to perform its work through the end of 2022. Corcoran is asking where Amerling was physically when she signed the proof of service portion that was attached to the committee’s subpoena to Bannon. The government tried to object and the judge overruled their request. Amerling doesn’t recall where she was but says no one else was present when she signed the proof of service.
Amerling concurs that each subpoena is written specifically for the recipient of the subpoena; in other words, not every subpoena has the same language written. Corcoran wants to know who decided October 7, 2021 was that date Bannon would produce documents. Amerling says that since Chairman Thompson signed the subpoena, he has the authority to push the subpoena.
Government objects and judge overrules, saying he is also interested in hearing this question. The judge says that the witness has only answered portions of the question. Amerling says that she participated in the discussion to decide on this date. Corcoran asks who was involved in this discussion as well? Government tries to object and the judge again overruled. More conversation. Government now wants to go on “the husher phone.”
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 9:51 AM]
Husher phone = discussions under seal
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 9:56 AM]
Amerling “cannot recall” what “human” set the dates for Bannon’s subpoena deadlines. Corcoran is asking if there were any deadlines happening that would make the committee “need” to select the dates that it did. Amerling reiterates that the committee only has authority through the end of 2022.
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 10:00 AM]
🚨 When Amerling was interviewed by the FBI on November 2, 2021, Corcoran asks if she told them that she filled out the proof of service on the subpoena BEFORE service was actually served? Amerling does not recall at this point what she told the FBI. Corcoran gives her an 8 page file that she’s reviewing.
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 10:07 AM]
Defense is killing it. Government is pissed. Back under seal for a “side bar” discussion.
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 10:24 AM]
Defense instructs to go to the 3rd page of Government Exhibit 2, which is already in evidence.
Defense: Did you draft this letter?
She says she was one of several staff members that drafted the letter; doesn’t recall which words she personally wrote. Amerling also doesn’t recall which words Chairman Thompson wrote, if any! Amerling reiterates that staff drafts the letter to distribute for the committee and for the Chairman signs it. Amerling will not say who contributed to the letter.
Corcoran asks if the Willard Hotel allegations come from the book Peril? Amerling says yes, Peril was one of the sources cited in this letter. Corcoran asks if the source of the interest of Donald J. Trump also the book Peril? Amerling agrees that this was also a source in reference to Trump. Amerling says she has also read the book Peril. Corcoran also asks if one of the sources for this letter in regard to Bannon saying that “there might be violence” on J6 a CNN article? Amerling concurs that this CNN article was also a source. Amerling is aware that numerous news sources were reporting that there might be violence on J6.
Amerling admits that she was part of drafting the schedule that was sent to a number of subpoena recipients; other committee staff members also contributed to writing up the schedules. Bannon’s schedule has 17 categories. Amerling says normally they do not publish roadmaps of the schedules because they don’t want to publicize where their investigations are going. Corcoran is asking if these categories were also sent to other subpoena recipients. Corcoran only wants to know if there is overlap between Bannon’s schedule of 17 areas of discussion and other recipients. Amerling says that they include items (varied) that apply to specific individuals who are given subpoenas [dependent upon who they are].
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 10:26 AM]
We’re now on a lunch recess.
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 11:34 AM]
We’re back after the lunch break.
Judge understood Bannon to waive the question whether the committee had acted in compliance with paragraph 11 of the regulation that accompanied the subpoena (this is in reference to whether the committee provided Bannon with the correct materials regarding instructions of the subpoena). Judge understands that the House has taken a position of what paragraph 11 means.
Government wants defense to make a proffer prior to [further discussing these matters]. Judge thinks it was likely that this argument regarding Paragraph 11 was never presented to the committee. Other than a few brief comments, no more discussion about this is made (for now).
Amerling is back on the stand. Corcoran approaches the witness and hands her more papers. Section 3B of paragraph 11 states that a witness does not have to testify if they are not provided Section 3B of paragraph 11. Amerling admits that Bannon was not provided with this paragraph. Corcoran wants Amerling to write this sentence down on the paper. Judge sustains.
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 11:40 AM]
Amerling is a bit somber now. She doesn’t like having to be confronted with textual evidence that Costello was in fact communicating with herself on behalf of Bannon (Amerling as representative of the committee) which would negate the entire argument that he ignored the requests.
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 11:45 AM]
Mr. Corcoran is raising the question as to why this matter was escalated to a criminal contempt case instead of civil contempt. In one of the government exhibit letters, “civil action” is used. Corcoran argues that this is one of the many “tools” the committee could use in order to obtain information for their investigation. Let’s emphasize civil.
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 11:52 AM]
The issue of privilege is again discussed. The government was raising objections before Corcoran could even finish his sentence. Judge reprimanded government to let him finish his sentence. Judge then called for a side bar discussion under seal.
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 12:00 PM]
Government Exhibit 6 is up on the screen, which is a letter from Costello to Chairman Thompson.
Defense: Did Thompson explore the possibility to try to reach an agreement with President Trump over executive privilege?
In other words, defense is asking of Thompson tried AT ALL to negotiate with Trump to drop the executive privilege. Amerling insists that the committee never received a formal request for executive privilege. Amerling says Bannon did not provide a letter stating why executive privilege would be needed by his subpoena dates.
Again, the defense asks if Thompson tried to resolve any issues with Trump in a civil court of law. Amerling says no, that would be assuming there was an issue of matters of executive privilege.
Defense brings up the Mueller investigation and is asking if Thompson negotiated over subpoenas in other scenarios. Government keeps interrupting. Judge tries to silence government. Another side bar under seal.
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 12:07 PM]
A letter is on the screen from October 15, 2021, sent from the committee to Bannon’s counsel, Robert Costello. Defense asks Amerling if she can identify any one word in this letter was written by Chairman Thompson. She “cannot recall.”
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 12:10 PM]
Corcoran asks who came up with the date October 18, 2021 for Bannon to provide materials to the committee. Amerling says that Thompson sent Bannon a letter on October 15 indicating that if there was any information Bannon could provide regarding his misconduct, the committee may consider this information on October 18 when they determine criminal procedures to address his actions. Defense asks if Amerling knows who was involved in the crafting of this letter. Government tries to object, judge overrules. Amerling once again “cannot recall” but keeps referring to collective staff.
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 12:14 PM]
Despite the committee not accepting executive privilege, Amerling continues to harp on the point that executive privilege was never formally introduced. She says that Donald J. Trump’s new lawsuit with Chairman Thompson regarding executive privilege (at the time) is not material in Bannon’s case.
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 12:36 PM]
Per the defense’s questions, Amerling concurs that just one day after Costello asked for a one week extension, on October 19, 2021, the select committee voted to criminally refer Bannon for contempt; this referral was to be sent to the full House.
Amerling says sometime after October 14, 2021, (to her best estimate but she cannot say for sure) she began taking part in writing this 40 page single-spaced report on Steve Bannon, including text and exhibits discussed in this trial, which was later sent to the House after the vote of the committee which occurred October 19, 2021. So to make the dates clear for you, the initial committee proceeding was on October 19, 2021, and the full House proceeding was days later on October 21, 2022.
Corcoran successfully gets Amerling to admit that she has largely worked for Democrats over her 20 years working on the Hill. She agrees with Corcoran that she’s also made donations to the DNC (generally). Amerling agrees that she told the FBI she was non-partisan. Amerling also admits one of the prosecutors in this case she overlapped with 15 years ago, which was Chaired by a Democrat. Amerling admits she is in a BOOK CLUB with Molly Gaston (one of the prosecutors)! Amerling has been in this book club for 5 years and she says that meet once per month.
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 12:38 PM]
Side bar under seal.
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 12:44 PM]
Judge is taking a brief recess to address questions that were just mentioned under seal. 10 minute recess.
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 1:05 PM]
Back on the record. Judge overrules the government’s objections as to what Mr. Corcoran is about to ask (a question raised under seal). Judge will not prohibit Corcoran from asking Amerling about the letters, however Judge Nichols says the leash will be very tight. Government believes that these letters may carry significant confusion. Government wants two instructions added both now and at deliberation regarding the letters (essentially): 1. The defendant’s belief that he had privilege to not comply, is not a defense to contempt. 2. Jury be instructed that the efforts of compliance of committee’s request or later compliance does not waive or erase prior failure to comply.
Schoen steps in and says the government just does not like “the way these letters go.” Schoen begins to say: “The fact is that the committee confirms Costello’s belief… Trump sent letter that he’s withdrawing privilege…”
Judge cuts him off. Says he understands Schoen’s position on the letters from previous arguments made.
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 1:09 PM]
Corcoran shows Trump’s letter stating he will waive executive privilege for Bannon to testify before the select committee under certain circumstances. Amerling agrees with the contents of the letter.
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 1:20 PM]
The defense now shows another letter from as recent as July 9, 2022 from Costello to Chairman Thompson. Costello is communicating regarding October 2021, explaining that Trump has provided a letter that waives executive privilege. Costello states that Trump believed it would be in the best interest of the American people for Bannon to testify before the committee. Trump’s letter is attached.
🚨 Corcoran now shows another letter from Chairman Thompson to Costello on July 14, 2022. Thompson gives a new date of July 21, 2022, insisting that the committee is open to receiving any relevant documents that Bannon may provide. After Bannon has produced all documents, Thompson indicates that the deposition will occur in the near future. In other words, Chairman Thompson indicated that he’s open to Bannon providing information and testifying.
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 1:33 PM]
Government and Amerling concur that the lawsuit between Donald J. Trump and Chairman Thompson was already resolved 6 months ago, and that the lawsuit went in the committee’s favor. In other words, the government and Amerling agree with the understanding that the committee therefore would be able to obtain what ever records they needed to pursue in their investigation. Government is trying to argue that the committee does not answer to Trump.
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 1:37 PM]
Government is reading rules set forward by the committee in regard to depositions, one of which states: “The witness may refuse to answer a question only to preserve privilege, but the witness has to be present at the deposition. Should the witness claim privilege, they still may be ordered to answer regardless.”
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 1:46 PM]
Amerling agrees that she is not allowed to send a letter on behalf of the committee without getting approval from the Chairman. She concurs that when she sends out letters, the letter(s) are sent on behalf of the committee. As the government is questioning, Amerling concurs that Bannon never provided “logistical reasoning” (scheduling, lacked representation) for why he could not make the deadlines. Amerling also again says that he never provided documents, nor provided alternate dates. She says that the matter of privilege was resolved October 8, and that the defendant did not provide auxiliary communications thereafter.
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 1:49 PM]
The government brings up the book club. Amerling insists that she has not been at the book club in a year and is unaware when the last time Gaston attended the book club. Government trying to paint the picture that Amerling does not have a familiar relationship with Gaston.
Amerling is excused as a witness. Short recess.
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 2:16 PM]
Court is back in session.
Government calls FBI Special Agent Stephen Hart. He works in the Washington field office. Hart was part of investigating Bannon’s “contempt.” Government Exhibit 10 is being shown to Hart, which he says is a screenshot from Steve Bannon’s GETTR profile.
Defense calls for a sidebar. Parties discussing under seal.
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 2:28 PM]
Government Exhibit 10 is moved into evidence. On September 24, 2021, Bannon posted to GETTR: “The Bannon Subpoena Is Just the Beginning. Congress Jan 6. Investigation Is Going Big.” Below the text is a picture of the Capitol on January 6, plus a link to Rolling Stone. On September 23, 2021 was when the subpoena was served; Bannon’s counsel accepted service on September 23 as well.
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 2:32 PM]
Government Exhibit 11A is another GETTR post dated October 7. “Steve Bannon tells the Jan. 6 select committee that he will not comply with it’s their subpoena.” The picture below is Bannon and Trump with the letter in between, authored by Costello. The link says that he stands with Trump and the Constitution.
11B is the Daily Mail article associated with the GETTR post. The date is October 8, 2021. The contents of the article include Bannon saying he will not comply with the committee’s investigation.
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 2:37 PM]
Government is questioning Special Agent Hart as to whether Costello ever said that Bannon would agree to or suggest new deadline dates for the subpoena or if Bannon ever said the dates were malleable. Hart keeps saying no. Defense objects. Side bar under seal. Government ends its examination of Hart.
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 2:45 PM]
Corcoran showing Defense Exhibit 39. It’s the Rolling Stone article originally published on September 24, 2021 that was posted on Bannon’s GETTR page. Corcoran asks: “These are not the words of Mr. Bannon, correct?”
Corcoran then brings up Government Exhibit 11A which is the Daily Mail article post. Corcoran then again asks Hart, “These are not Mr. Bannon’s words, correct?” Hart says these words were affiliated with Bannon’s account because Bannon or someone who works for him shared these articles to his GETTR account.
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 2:57 PM]
The defense raises the question as to whether, in his line of work, FBI Special Agent Hart ever handles situations where people are trying to [negotiate down] crime or contempt. Government keeps trying to object and the judge overruled. Brief questioning. Side bar under seal.
Defense asking if Hart has participated in meetings when defense lawyer is trying to persuade the government to not push a criminal case. Hart says yes, he has participated in such meetings.
Corcoran asks if Hart’s goal in interviewing Amerling was to determine if a crime was committed here? Hart says that the FBI needed to hear her [perspective]. Government objects and judge said improper impeachment. Judge says sustained. Government keeps objecting. Judge overrules.
Corcoran asks if Hart learned in this interview that Amerling has known the prosecutor, Gaston, for 15 years? Hart says he did not learn this in that interview.
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 2:59 PM]
Last question from the defense: “Mr. Hart are you aware that “privilege” is in the Constitution?”
The prosecution rests.
The Justice League, [7/20/2022 3:01 PM]
Due to a scheduling issue, we will begin tomorrow morning at 11 AM. Corcoran mentions an acquittal. Tomorrow should be interesting.
Looks like the defense is making it pretty clear that this is all about theater and vindictiveness.