Former White House adviser Steve Bannon is using his podcast, War Room: Pandemic, to advise former President Donald Trump on legal strategy for his upcoming impeachment trial, encouraging Trump to use his defense before the Senate as a stage to argue that the 2020 election was stolen through widespread voter fraud.
While mainstream media reporting thus far suggests that Trump’s defense will focus on the constitutionality of his second impeachment trial, Bannon is encouraging the former president to abandon that argument as a doomed strategy. Instead, he advises Trump to say the 2020 election was stolen and rest his defense on the same conspiracy theories and lies that led to the January 6 insurrection.
On January 30, Trump fired the legal team previously set to represent him during his trial. Reuters reported that he disagreed with attorney Butch Bowers’ legal strategy to focus on constitutionality, with the former president “still contending that he was the victim of mass election fraud.” Trump is now represented by David Schoen and Bruce Castor Jr.
On February 1, Schoen appeared on Fox News’ Hannity to discuss the charges against Trump. The bulk of his remarks focused on the constitutionality of impeachment and Trump’s right to free speech, not voter fraud.
On the February 2 episode of War Room: Pandemic, Bannon played Schoen’s appearance on Hannity and criticized his strategy. He cut off the clip, saying, “I’ve heard enough of that,” then said Schoen’s argument relies on “victimization” and “misses the mark.” Instead, the former Trump adviser said, “You’ve got to bring the heat” by raising debunked claims of election fraud to counter the narrative that Trump’s lies incited a mob to storm the Capitol.
In the final days of his presidency, Trump and Bannon reportedly reconciled after years of disunity. According to Bloomberg, Bannon advised Trump “on his campaign to overturn his re-election defeat.” Trump, for his part, eventually gave Bannon a pardon after he “was charged in August with duping thousands of donors who believed their money would be used to fulfill Trump’s chief campaign promise to build a wall along the southern border. Instead, he allegedly diverted over a million dollars, paying a salary to one campaign official and personal expenses for himself.”