Steve Bannon attacks Trump's new impeachment lawyers

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.

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Citation From the February 2, 2021, edition of War Room: Pandemic 

STEVE BANNON (HOST): Take that down, that was the last time -- I've heard enough of that. OK? I've heard enough of that. That's all kind of accurate, but it’s not really -- there's a concept in decision-making or how you drive decisions called “missing the mark." That misses the mark. In here, you have to hit the mark. That's victimization, it’s why -- yes, those arguments are correct. No doubt, they are correct and they should be made. 


But the headline is “House impeachment brief argues Trump unmistakably responsible for the Capitol attack." Now, they’re not arguing the law here. This is not really a legal brief. 

They are going to put this into a witches' brew, into a stew that shows that President Trump is the only president in American history that are up on the charges of inciting a violent insurrection against the American republic. That's what they're doing, and Sean's comments last night miss the mark. They're all accurate, I agree with you, I believe in them, but it's not really relevant. That's a technical argument that should be made and has to be made, but it's only one element, and I would say only one small element. There’s not going to be -- you're going to debate that you can't do this? They're doing it. 


We have to understand something, and I think Fox News should understand something. The opposition here are very smart and cunning people, and the American people, and particularly the deplorables, are very smart people. It can't be spun anymore. And if this is the lawyer that's gonna get up there -- if those are the arguments? President Trump is not going to be convicted. Not going to be convicted, I don't know, they got four or five votes, the haters, the Romneys, and Sasses and things like that, but that's not the point. 


This is a political process. And you have one side that is being very smart on the politics of where they see it and where they want to drive it, and the other side -- and here's why. Because he has been told, “If you mention election fraud, if you mention that word, at any time if you mention that word, if that crosses your lips or crosses the lips of your attorneys, you will be convicted.” Do you think Mitch McConnell, do you think there’s -- let’s go back to the over, I think, take the 20, do you think there’s 17, 18 senators that are going to stand, besides the five haters, another 12, 13 that'll convict him? Cause they have to have more than just the two-thirds so nobody gets blamed for it. I don't think so. Why do you think we’re focused on Liz Cheney so much? Because you show with Liz Cheney that you can’t run and hide from this. People are going to hold people accountable. And now we are in a terrible situation. A terrible situation. And the people that have led the president on in this -- and he got rid of the team the other day because he is sitting there going, “Hey, I hear what you're saying on this, I got it, it's no due process, it's everything like that, but what time do we pivot and talk about Wisconsin? Where do we talk about Georgia?" “Oh, we're not doing that. We weren’t -- Lindsay Graham said we can't do that. That word, ‘election fraud,’ if we do that you're convicted, we're not doing that.” And he sat there and goes, “Hang on for a second. You got the opening thing, that will take a couple of hours, but where's the beef?" And then they were gone. And then this guy shows up last night with the beard. Hey, I don’t look great with a beard either, but hey, man, the beard’s got to come off. You can’t go in there like the absent-minded professor. You’ve got to bring the heat. The Democrats are bringing heat. They’re coming in hot on this thing. And I’ve heard people say already, “Well, it’s not legally tight.” It doesn’t have to be legally tight, this is not a legal process. They know they don’t have the votes.

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.”