Steve Bannon could finally go to jail. We can hope.


For years, Steve Bannon has been tearing holes in America’s democratic institutions – demonizing the press, spreading lies and hatred of immigrants, fomenting a riot, flouting the law.

So far he’s always gotten away with it. Accused of fraud from donors to a private group claiming to raise money for Donald Trump’s border wall, he won a presidential pardon. Credibly accused of registering to vote in Florida, where he did not live, he managed to avoid prosecution.

And besides, he was portrayed by the media as a “conservative arsonist” or “populist guru” whom he allegedly despised. Working tirelessly as an adviser to the President to destroy and deceive, he was even pictured on the cover of Time Magazine as “The Great Manipulator,” who looked like Trump’s own Rasputin.

But now? The tide could have turned.

Trump-appointed US District Judge Carl J. Nichols of Washington appears poised, willing and able to crack down on Bannon’s defiance of a congressional subpoena last year. After the former Trump adviser offered at the last minute to testify on his own terms before the House Committee of Inquiry into the Jan. 6, 2021 riot, Nichols summed it up as a “last-ditch effort to evade accountability.” And he shredded the arguments of Bannon’s lawyers one by one.

When Bannon’s attorney David Schoen complained in the courtroom, “What’s the point of going to court here if there’s no defense?” Nichols ominously suggested that perhaps Bannon’s team should consider it when they present next week go to court.

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The Great Manipulator could even serve a prison sentence if convicted — up to two years, or, perhaps more likely, just 30 days. Criminal defiance of Congress is only a misdemeanor, after all.

My animus for Bannon stems in part from the way he has helped turn the public against the reality-based press and has attempted to bury the truth in an avalanche of lies and deception.

In Bannon’s world, the surest path to success is to distract, deceive, and overwhelm the masses with endless supplies of BS. And Trump clearly heeded his advice.

“The real opposition is the media. Flood the zone with s—” is his credo, as the writer Michael Lewis put it. Then you can get away with almost anything.

Or the New York Times: “The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and shut up and just listen for a while,” Steve Bannon scolded shortly after the 2016 presidential election. “The media is the opposition party.

Richard Tofel, ProPublica’s president at the time, was quick to tweet appropriate reply: “We are not the opposition. We’re just trying to report the truth. And we won’t shut up.” Pointing this out, ProPublica later reported early and often on Bannon’s ties to dark money and all of the suspicious activity that led to federal prosecutors charging him with donor fraud.

But Bannon did much more than that. Early in his tenure in administration, he is said to have developed Trump’s somberly defining catchphrase “American carnage” as well as the new president’s executive branch Orders to ban visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries and suspend refugee programs.

Only recently – shortly before the 2020 presidential election – he denounced the rule of law and the peaceful transfer of power. In an audio recording obtained by Mother Jones and released this week, Bannon sounded solemn about Trump’s plan to win, win, or lose.

Should Trump’s plan to be reinstated as president go through, Bannon predicted, “Trump will never have to go to a voter again. He will fire [Christopher] Wray, the FBI Director… He’ll say, ‘F— you. How about this?’ Because … he has his last election behind him. Oh, he’ll fall off the chain – he’ll go mad.”

Then, days before January 6, 2021, Bannon used his podcast to call out deluded and criminal mobs to the looming storm on the US Capitol with a bang of election lies: “It all boils down to whether we will confirm the massive landslide by Donald J. Trump? Or will we surrender our constitutional republic to the forces of darkness?”

Whether as Trump’s chief strategist, or as chairman of the far-right Breitbart News, or just as a guy with a inflammatory podcast, Bannon has long embraced the worst of things. So, yes, law-abiding and democracy-defending Americans should be hoping for jail time when Bannon’s trial takes place on Monday. No doubt he would try to display such a result as a badge of honor; He was back on his podcast shortly after Nichols’ verdict, ranting about “Middle Ages” at his political enemies: “We’re going to crush these people.”

But regardless of his defiant words, a conviction and jail time would always be an appropriately ugly part of Bannon’s uglier legacy. For all the villains of the Trump era – and let’s face it, they are legion – Stephen K. Bannon is certainly one of the worst. Steve Bannon could finally go to jail. We can hope.

Chris Estrada

Chris Estrada is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Chris Estrada joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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