• Show Notes

Dear Listener, 

All eyes are on Attorney General Merrick Garland, as he and the Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia will soon almost certainly be in receipt of a criminal referral from the full House of Representatives, asking that former Trump associate Steve Bannon be prosecuted for contempt of Congress for defying the 1/6 Committee’s subpoena. From where I sit, as you’ve heard me discuss with Joyce, if ever there was a case where such a charge was appropriate, this is the one. The invocation of executive privilege is empty. The suggestion of absolute immunity is outrageous. I have given my opinion as a private citizen that prosecution of Steve Bannon is right and righteous.

Over the weekend, the least private citizen in the country gave his opinion on the matter. This created a minor ruckus. President Joe Biden, amid the focus on Steve Bannon, was asked by CNN’s Kaitlan Collins about witnesses who defy subpoenas from the committee. Biden replied, “I hope that the committee goes after them and holds them accountable.” Then Collins asked whether Biden thought such people should be prosecuted by DOJ. He said without hesitation, “I do, yes.” In different circumstances, in a different time, and in a different country, one could argue, I suppose, that such a remark was a harmless and somewhat general comment about accountability. But in present circumstances, at this time, and in this country, it was a mistake and he shouldn’t have said it because (1) it could give the appearance of a direction to the independent Department of Justice to prosecute Bannon specifically and (2) it goes against his own prior rhetoric about prosecutorial independence.

I said as much on CNN when asked about it. I said, among other things, “Joe Biden should not have said that, but I think he probably thinks better of it.” I also tried to put the error in some context, emphasizing that Biden’s statements heretofore have been right on the money: “I think Biden's heart is in the right place. His mind is in the right place. His tongue on one occasion, today, was not.”