Steve Bannon Throws MAGA Pity Party to Begin 4-month Jail Term

Rebecca Cook/Reuters
Rebecca Cook/Reuters

Steve Bannon on Monday arrived at a federal prison in Connecticut to begin serving his four-month sentence after being convicted on contempt charges for defying a subpoena from the House Jan. 6 committee.

The former Donald Trump White House adviser had been allowed to remain free for almost two years after he was found guilty on two counts of contempt of Congress for refusing to hand over documents or testify to the panel. Bannon had tried to delay his sentence while his appeal against his conviction plays out, but the Supreme Court rejected that last-ditch stalling attempt on Friday.

Steve Bannon’s Going to Prison, but His Podcast Will Go On

Before he turned himself in, Bannon hosted one last segment of his War Room podcast and a rally near the Danbury penitentiary—one that featured Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and military contractor Erik Prince.

The show’s livestream flashed to footage of the inside of Bannon’s SUV with the words “Live Enroute to Danbury FCI,” before it focused on a protest near the prison, with supporters donning MAGA hats, carrying “Don’t Tread on Me” and Trump flags, and one man hoisting a “Free Bannon” sign.

At 11:23 a.m., Bannon was all smiles as he stepped out of his black vehicle and greeted the horde, which included camera crews from CNN and NBC.

As Bannon stood before the microphones, flanked by Greene and his daughter Maureen, he hailed himself a MAGA martyr and said he was “proud to go to prison” and “stand up to tyranny.” Behind him, someone held a sign reading, “Steve we baked you a cake with a file.”

Some women could be heard yelling “Traitor! Traitor!” during Bannon’s and Greene’s comments. (When Bannon headed back to his SUV to surrender, the same counter-protesters clamored: “Enjoy the toilet wine!”)

“I’m a political prisoner of [former House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi,” Bannon shouted. “I’m a political prisoner of [U.S. Attorney General] Merrick Garland. I’m a political prisoner of Joe Biden and the corrupt Biden establishment.”

A Catholic priest then prayed for Bannon but declined to share any words before the crowd: “I’m not authorized to talk to the media,” he said, before adding, “I’m in the St. Ignatius Retreat House 15 minutes away. I’ll get you whatever you need.”

“Father, don’t pray for me, pray for our enemies,” Bannon replied.

“The most important thing to remember is President Trump is going to be sentenced to prison on July 11,” Bannon later crowed. “Me going here for four months is nothing. They’re going to, in a very sham trial, totally illegal, they are going to sentence Donald J. Trump, the greatest president of the 20th and 21st century.”

Bannon, 70, arrived at the low-security FCI Danbury around noon and was formally taken into custody, the AP reported.

He is now the second former Trump aide to find himself behind bars on contempt charges this year. Peter Navarro, a one-time trade adviser to Trump, similarly reported to prison in March to start a four-month prison sentence on his own contempt of Congress conviction.

In an interview Sunday, Bannon told The Daily Beast he’d requested Danbury to serve his sentence as a “symbolic” gesture. The penitentiary was where screenwriter Ring Lardner Jr., one of the “Hollywood Ten,” was locked up after being convicted in 1950 of contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions about potential communist associations posed by the House Un-American Activities Committee.

“I’m a political prisoner, because I have a very successful platform that reaches the common man,” Bannon told The Daily Beast. “They hate that, they will do anything to shut that down.” He also claimed that authorities are making him “a martyr” and said his show “will be bigger” as a result.

It’s not yet clear if prison officials will allow him to call into his show during his incarceration. A rolling cast of like-minded allies including Greene and Reps. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), and Matt Gaetz (R-FL) are expected to keep War Room running while Bannon remains imprisoned until Nov. 1.

Bannon has remained bullish about the show’s reach and appears unconcerned about what being jailed will mean for his podcast’s prospects. “I’m not going to be sitting there going, ‘Oh, woe is me,’” he told CNN. Sources close to Bannon gave a different account to the network, describing a man who is understandably apprehensive about what his life is about to become for the next few months.

Danbury has just over 1,150 male and female inmates, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Some of the facility’s prisoners have been convicted of violent and sexual crimes—something that Bannon is “quite concerned with,” a source close to Bannon told The Daily Beast last week.

Away from his contempt of Congress conviction, Bannon is also facing a criminal trial in New York state court in September over allegations that he defrauded donors who contributed to the “We Build the Wall” fundraiser to build a wall on the U.S. southern border. Bannon has pleaded not guilty in the case, which is a state-level successor to a federal case shut down by Trump pardoning Bannon before leaving office.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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