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Steve Bannon

Steve Bannon was an influential and dangerous player in Trump’s first administration. His podcast feeds red meat to the extreme MAGA base weekly and he could be back in a second term.

Steve Bannon and Fraud Cases

Bannon Was Twice Indicted For Fraud Over A Scheme To Build A Border Wall That He Then Used For Personal Expenses 

Bannon Was Indicted For Allegedly Defrauding Donors Claiming He Would Build The Trump Wall On The Southern U.S. Border 

August 2020: Bannon Was Charged With Conspiracy To Commit Money Laundering And Conspiracy To Commit Wire Fraud In Connection To The “We Build The Wall” Crowdfunding Campaign. According to the Department of Justice, “Audrey Strauss, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Philip R. Bartlett, Inspector-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the United States Postal Inspection Service (‘USPIS’), announced the unsealing of an indictment charging BRIAN KOLFAGE, STEPHEN BANNON, ANDREW BADOLATO, and TIMOTHY SHEA for their roles in defrauding hundreds of thousands of donors in connection with an online crowdfunding campaign known as ‘We Build the Wall’ that raised more than $25 million.  The defendants were arrested this morning.  […] KOLFAGE, 38, of Miramar Beach, Florida, BANNON, 66, of Washington, D.C., BADOLATO, 56, of Sarasota, Florida, and SHEA, 49, of Castle Rock, Colorado, are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, each of which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.” [Department of Justice, 8/20/20]

Bannon Allegedly Promised Donors That 100% Of The Funds Raised To Go Towards Building A Border Wall With Mexico, But Instead Used The Money For Personal Expenses. According to CNN, “The four men were indicted for allegedly using hundreds of thousands of dollars donated to an online crowdfunding campaign called We Build the Wall for personal expenses, among other things. Bannon and another defendant, Brian Kolfage, promised donors that the campaign, which ultimately raised more than $25 million, was ‘a volunteer organization’ and that ‘100% of the funds raised…will be used in the execution of our mission and purpose,’ according to the indictment unsealed Thursday. But instead, according to prosecutors, Bannon, through a non-profit under his control, used more than $1 million from We Build the Wall to ‘secretly’ pay Kolfage and cover hundreds of thousands of dollars in Bannon’s personal expenses.” [CNN, 8/20/20

On His Last Day As President, Trump Pardoned Bannon  

January 20, 2021: Trump Pardoned Bannon. According to the Wall Street Journal, “President Trump issued a flurry of pardons and commutations on his final day in office, rewarding a handful of longtime allies and well-connected celebrities, including his former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, and onetime fundraiser Elliott Broidy.” [Wall Street Journal, 1/20/21

New York Charged Bannon With Fraud And Money Laundering In Connection To The “We Build The Wall” Campaign 

September 2022: Bannon Was Indicted In New York State Court On Money Laundering, Conspiracy, And Fraud Charges Related To His Build The Wall Scheme. According to CNN, “Former Donald Trump aide Steve Bannon pleaded not guilty Thursday in a New York court to state charges of money laundering, conspiracy and fraud related to an alleged online scheme to raise money for the construction of a wall along the southern US border, according to his attorney. The state charges are based on the same conduct Bannon was charged with by federal prosecutors in 2020 that alleged he and three others had defrauded donors in the border wall effort, which raised more than $15 million. He was later pardoned by Trump. Presidential pardons do not apply to state investigations, however.” [CNN, 9/8/22

July 2024: Bannon Was Scheduled To Go On Trial. According to Newsweek, “The trial for Donald Trump ally Steve Bannon over allegations he defrauded people who donated to a campaign to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border has been postponed by several months. Bannon, a former White House senior adviser, has pleaded not guilty to several charges of money laundering, conspiracy and scheming to defraud in connection with $15 million in donations a ‘We Build the Wall’ fundraising campaign received. The trial at the New York Supreme Criminal Court was originally set to begin on May 27 by Judge Juan Merchan. However, the judge, who is also presiding over Trump’s hush-money trial, which is expected to last several more weeks, has delayed the start of Bannon’s proceedings until September, senior Courthouse News reporter Josh Russell first reported.” [Newsweek, 5/1/24

Steve Bannon and Anti-Democratic Leaders

Bannon Met With Anti-Democratic Leaders And Parties To Try To Build A Right-Wing Movement Internationally

Bannon Wanted To Lead A Right-Wing Populist Revolt Across Europe 

Bannon Wanted To Lead A Right-Wing Populist Revolt Across Europe. According to the Daily Beast, “Steve Bannon plans to go toe-to-toe with George Soros and spark a right-wing revolution in Europe. Trump’s former White House chief advisor told The Daily Beast that he is setting up a foundation in Europe called The Movement which he hopes will lead a right-wing populist revolt across the continent starting with the European Parliament elections next spring.” [Daily Beast, 7/20/18

Bannon Met With The Leaders Of Several Far-Right European Parties 

Bannon Headlined The 2018 Conference For Marine Le Pen’s Far-Right National Front Party. According to the New York Times, “On Saturday, he is set to headline the annual conference of France’s far-right National Front in the northern city of Lille, where he will be introduced by its leader, Marine Le Pen.” [New York Times, 3/9/18]

Bannon Met With The Leaders Of Several Parties With Racist Or Neo-Nazi Origins 

Bannon Met With The Leadership Of Germany’s Far-Right Alternative For Germany Party. According to the New York Times, “In Zurich, Mr. Bannon says, he had a ‘fascinating’ meeting on Tuesday with leaders of Germany’s far-right Alternative for Germany party.” [New York Times, 3/9/18

Bannon Met With The Leader Of The Sweden Democrats, A Party With Neo-Nazi Origins. According to the Daily Beast, “Kent Ekeroth of the Sweden Democrats was one of those who met Bannon in Central London in the last week. The party, which had its roots in the Neo-Nazi and white supremacist movements of the 1980s, has shot up to almost 20 percent in recent polls after adopting a more conventionally populist, anti-immigration message.” [Daily Beast, 7/20/18]  

Bannon Met With The Leader Of Vlaams Belang, A Belgian Party Formed After Their Predecessor Was Shut Down For Racism And Xenophobia. According to the Daily Beast, “Jérôme Rivière of Marine Le Pen’s Front National (Rassemblement National since June) also made the pilgrimage to London’s Mayfair, as did Mischaël Modrikamen of the People’s Party of Belgium, Nigel Farage of UKIP and Filip Dewinter of Vlaams Belang, a Flemish nationalist party formed in 2004 when its predecessor was found to be in breach of a Belgian law on racism and xenophobia.” [Daily Beast, 7/20/18]

Bannon Met With Zeljka Cvijanovic, Who Was Later Sanctioned By The U.S. For Trying To Undermine Unity In Bosnia And Herzegovina

2018: Bannon Met With Then-Prime Minister Of Republika Srpska Zeljka Cvijanovic. According to the London Times, “Trump’s former chief strategist has sought to further his bid to build a far-right populist bloc in Europe by courting the leader of Serbian nationalists in Bosnia. Details of Steve Bannon’s meeting with Zeljka Cvijanovic, prime minister of the Republika Srpska, at his home in Washington emerged yesterday. Mr Bannon, who was sacked by the US president last year, is also the former chairman of the right-wing news website Breitbart and an architect of the brand of populism that is sweeping across Europe.” [London Times, 8/2/18] 

  • 2023: The United States Sanctioned Cvijanovic For “Threatening The Implementation Of The Dayton Peace Agreement” In Bosnia and Herzegovina. According to a press release from the Department of the Treasury, “Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated one state-level official of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and three government officials from the Republika Srpska (RS), one of two entities comprising BiH, pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 14033. These leaders are directly responsible for encouraging the passage of a Republika Srpska National Assembly (RSNA) law that purports to declare the decisions of the BiH Constitutional Court (BiH CC) inapplicable in the RS, thus obstructing and threatening the implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA). […] Serb member of the BiH Presidency Zeljka Cvijanovic (Cvijanovic) also met with Dodik, and affirmed her complete unity with him concerning future decisions prior to the passage of the law. Cvijanovic publicly defended the action after the Law on the Non-Application of the Decisions of the BiH CC was passed. Cvijanovic was previously designated by the United Kingdom on April 11, 2022, for undermining the legitimacy and functionality of BiH.” [U.S. Department of the Treasury, 7/31/23

Bannon Pledged To Work With Right-Wing Leaders In Hungary And Italy 

2018: Bannon Announced Plans To Work With Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban On The Movement. According to Reuters, “U.S. President Donald Trump’s former political strategist, Steve Bannon, plans to work with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in the run-up to European Parliament elections next year, Bannon told private broadcaster RTL in an interview. Bannon, a former chairman of the right-wing website and an architect of Trump’s 2016 election win, has set up a movement to elect right-wing nationalist and populist members in European Parliament elections in May. Bannon, who had held a public lecture in Budapest last May, said he has already visited Budapest a couple of times and met Orban and his aides – meetings, which have not been made public. A government spokesman could not comment immediately. Orban has welcomed the idea of Bannon’s group, called The Movement, saying it was time that someone from the United States came to Europe to spread conservative thinking instead of liberal values.” [Reuters, 11/17/18

  • Orban’s Tenure As Prime Minister Has Seen The Erosion Of Democratic Rights And Civil Society Protections. According to CNN, “Over his 14 years in power, Orbán has transformed Hungary into a laboratory for conservative policies and eroded democratic rights and civil society protections, according to his critics and European Union officials. Orbán has centralized power by dismissing judges, changing election rules to favor his party, cracking down on NGO’s and appointing loyalists to key institutions. His government built a fence along the country’s southern border amid a migrant crisis in 2015 and passed stricter immigration policies. It tightened its grip on state media, reducing space for dissent. The prime minister has also promoted a Christian nationalist view of Hungarian society, passing laws restricting transgender rights and adoption by same-sex couples, redefining marriage in the constitution to only cover unions between a man and a woman, and banning materials related to LGBTQ issues in schools.” [CNN, 5/1/24

2018: Then-Italian Interior Minister And Leader Of The Anti-Immigrant Party The League Joined Bannon’s Group. According to the New York Times, “The most powerful figure in Italy’s new populist government signed up on Friday with Steve Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist, to help bring about a continentwide populist takeover during European Parliamentary elections next spring. Matteo Salvini, the Italian interior minister and the leader of the anti-immigrant party the League, has joined The Movement, a group founded by Mr. Bannon, the minister’s spokeswoman confirmed. Mr. Salvini, whose popularity has grown with his power, amounts to Mr. Bannon’s first big get, lending legitimacy to his project and making it more likely that other Euroskeptic and populist politicians will join as well. In an interview in Rome on Friday, Mr. Bannon said he and Mr. Salvini spoke for more than an hour in Mr. Salvini’s frescoed government offices about how his new Brussels-based organization would offer a ‘loose association’ and physical space for right-wing populist leaders to meet and get to know one another and form alliances.” [New York Times, 9/7/18

Bannon Developed A Relationship With The Far-Right President Of Brazil 

2019: Bannon Was A Special Guest Of Far-Right Leader And Then-Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. According to McClatchy, “Steve Bannon, the former Trump White House adviser and conservative hardliner, will be a special guest of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for dinner on Monday, the eve of the far-right leader’s meeting with President Trump at the White House. Bannon, who Bolsonaro’s team has sought out for political guidance, will be among a group of conservative guests joining Bolsonaro at his table for the exclusive event at the Brazilian ambassador’s residence, two sources familiar with the meeting said. ‘Some of the Bolsonaro team on the right see themselves as disciples of the Bannon movement and representatives of Bannon for Brazil and Latin America,’ said Fernando Cutz, a former acting senior director for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the National Security Council in the Trump administration.” [McClatchy, 3/15/19

Steve Bannon and January 6 and Democracy

Steve Bannon Advised Trump To Deny The 2020 Election And Helped Plan The January 6 Rally 

Steve Bannon Advised Trump To Deny The Legitimacy Of The 2020 Election

Bannon Told Trump To “Kill The Biden Presidency In The Crib.” According to Newsweek, “‘And Bannon had actually been in close touch with President Trump for days before January 6th,’ said Costa on MSNBC. ‘Based on our reporting, he privately told President Trump to have a reckoning on January 6th. And he said to the president, it’s time to kill the Biden presidency in the crib.’” [Newsweek, 9/22/21

Trump Repeatedly Spoke With Steve Bannon For Advice On His Effort To Overturn The 2020 Election. According to Bloomberg, “President Donald Trump has repeatedly spoken by phone in recent weeks with once-estranged White House adviser Steve Bannon, who’s facing federal criminal charges, for counsel on his campaign to overturn his re-election defeat, according to people familiar with the matter.” [Bloomberg, 1/14/21

Bannon Said Trump Would Declare Victory On Election Night No Matter What The Results Were 

October 2020: Bannon Said Trump Would Declare Victory On Election Night No Matter What The Results Were And Then Claim Any Changes Were The Result Of Fraud. According to Mother Jones, “On the evening of October 31, 2020, Steve Bannon told a group of associates that President Donald Trump had a plan to declare victory on election night—even if he was losing. Trump knew that the slow counting of Democratic-leaning mail-in ballots meant the returns would show early leads for him in key states. His ‘strategy’ was to use this fact to assert that he had won, while claiming that the inevitable shifts in vote totals toward Joe Biden must be the result of fraud, Bannon explained. ‘What Trump’s gonna do is just declare victory. Right? He’s gonna declare victory. But that doesn’t mean he’s a winner,’ Bannon, laughing, told the group, according to audio of the meeting obtained by Mother Jones. ‘He’s just gonna say he’s a winner.’ ‘He’s gonna declare victory. But that doesn’t mean he’s a winner.’ ‘As it sits here today,’ Bannon said later in the conversation, describing a scenario in which Trump held an early lead in key swing states, ‘at 10 or 11 o’clock Trump’s gonna walk in the Oval, tweet out, ‘I’m the winner. Game over. Suck on that.’” [Mother Jones, 7/12/22

Bannon Planned And Promoted The “Stop The Steal” Rally On January 6 

Bannon Was Part Of The “War Room” That Planned The January 6 Rally. According to Newsweek, “Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon admitted on his War Room podcast that he had a hand in planning the rally for then-President Donald Trump that preceded the riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Bannon played a clip on War Room from an MSNBC broadcast in which Washington Post journalists Robert Costa and Bob Woodward, who just released the book Peril, discussed Bannon meeting up with Rudy Giuliani and other Trump allies the night before the insurrection. Costa claimed that on January 5, Bannon, Giuliani, and the other allies had a ‘war-room-type meeting’ at the Willard Hotel, which is located blocks from the White House.” [Newsweek, 9/22/21]

Bannon Sponsored The “March For Trump” Bus Tour And Promoted The January 6th Rally Outside The White House. According to ABC News, “Bannon also played a significant role in promoting the Jan. 6 rally, which was co-organized by ‘March for Trump,’ and he previously served as a prominent sponsor of the group’s cross-country December bus tour ahead of the rally.” [ABC News, 1/15/21

Two Bannon Associates Helped Set Up The January 6 Rally 

Two Of Bannon’s Longtime Associates Had Key Roles In Organizing The January 6 Rally. According to ABC News, “Two of Bannon’s longtime associates also served in key roles on Jan. 6. Dustin Stockton was one of the lead organizers of the rally, and Jennifer Lawrence ran media relations. Until 2017, Stockton and Lawrence worked as writers at the far-right media outlet Breitbart when Bannon was executive chairman, according to their LinkedIn profiles. The pair most recently worked with Bannon on his crowdfunding campaign ‘We Build the Wall,’ which in August 2020 resulted in the federal indictments over allegations of defrauding donors.” [ABC News, 1/15/21]

Bannon Was Convicted For Contempt Of Congress For Refusing To Testify About His Role In January 6 

Bannon Refused To Comply With A Congressional Subpoena From The January 6 Committee 

September 2021: Bannon Subpoenaed By The January 6 Committee. According to National Public Radio, “The Democratic-led House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol has issued subpoenas to four former Trump administration officials, including former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and strategist Steve Bannon.” [NPR, 9/23/21] 

October 2021: Bannon Defied The Subpoena. According to the Associated Press, “A congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection could soon recommend criminal contempt charges against former White House aide Steve Bannon as he defies a subpoena for documents and testimony about his interactions with President Donald Trump ahead of the violent siege of the Capitol. The committee scheduled a Thursday deposition with Bannon, but his lawyer has said that at Trump’s direction he won’t appear.” [Associated Press, 10/14/21

October 2021: The U.S. House Of Representatives Voted To Hold Steve Bannon In Criminal Contempt Of Congress For Refusing To Testify About His Communications With Trump Concerning The Events Surrounding January 6. According to Politico, “The House voted Thursday to hold Steve Bannon, a longtime ally of Donald Trump, in criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to testify about his communications with the former president. In a 229-202 vote, with nine House Republicans joining all Democrats, the chamber moved to hold Bannon in contempt for defying a subpoena to testify to the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.” [Politico, 10/21/21

Bannon Was Convicted Of Contempt Of Congress And Sentenced To Four Months In Prison

July 2022: Bannon Was Convicted Of Contempt Of Congress. According to National Public Radio, “A federal jury has convicted former Trump political adviser Steve Bannon of two counts of criminal contempt of Congress for intentionally defying a subpoena related to the assault on the U.S. Capitol last year. Bannon put on no defense in the case, which featured testimony from just two government witnesses, including the deputy staff director of the House Select Committee investigating the events of Jan. 6, 2021. The Justice Department told jurors the case was black and white – as simple as the words on the subpoena to Bannon last autumn. ‘The defendant chose allegiance to Donald Trump over compliance with the law,’ Assistant U.S. Attorney Molly Gaston said in closing arguments.” [NPR, 7/22/22

Bannon Was Sentenced To Four Months In Prison 

October 2022: Bannon Was Sentenced To Four Months In Prison. According to the New York Times, “Stephen K. Bannon, a longtime adviser to former President Donald J. Trump who aided in the effort to overturn the 2020 election, was sentenced on Friday to four months in prison for disobeying a subpoena from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. Mr. Bannon, 68, was found guilty of two counts of contempt of Congress this summer after Judge Carl J. Nichols rejected an array of arguments offered by Mr. Bannon’s defense team, including that he was protected by executive privilege from being compelled to testify.” [New York Times, 10/21/22

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