'Potential trap': Steve Bannon accuses prosecutors of SPYING on his lawyer

Steve Bannon talks to news media as he surrenders himself to the FBI on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021. (Video screenshot)
Steve Bannon talks to news media as he surrenders himself to the FBI on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021. (Video screenshot)

Stephen Bannon, a former adviser to President Donald Trump, is charging that federal prosecutors trying to force him to appear before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s partisan committee investigating the events of Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol are now spying on his defense attorney.

He’s already demanded that all of the documents used against him be made public, a move that Department of Justice officials frantically have opposed.

He’s explained the public needs access to “all the facts” in order to judge “whether the U.S. Department of Justice is committed to a just result.” In fact, Pelosi’s committee has acted over and over in a strictly partisan manner while reviewing the riot that happened that day – and reportedly trying to pin all the blame on Republicans.

Actually Pelosi, as speaker, has significant responsibility for safe operations of the Capitol complex, and reports have confirmed she refused offers of having National Guard troops there that day to avoid trouble.

Now the Daily Mail reports Bannon’s legal team has fired off a court filing charging prosecutors with “outrageous” conduct.

The report explains they accuse prosecutors of monitoring several telephone lines of Bannon’s lawyer, Robert Costello, as well as his emails.

Bannon is facing a criminal contempt charge brought by Democrats in Congress over his decision not to answer the questions of the committee, which includes Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the agitator in Congress who for years claimed he had proof of the 2016 Trump campaign’s “Russia collusion,” a conspiratorial claim that has been debunked.

U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who promoted the false Russia collusion conspiracy theory (Video screenshot)
U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who promoted the false Russia collusion conspiracy theory (Video screenshot)

The Daily Mail explained the charge against federal officials could have a significant impact.

“Lawyers representing Steve Bannon believe they may have found a way to blow up the government’s case against the former Trump adviser – and now say the government breached attorney-client privilege by subpoenaing phone and email records for Bannon’s lawyer, Robert Costello, amid their probe,” the report explained.

“The lawyers say in an explosive new filing they learned of the efforts to get Costello’s phone and email records when the government produced 790 documents as part of the case against Bannon, part of the normal document production in a criminal case.”

The “snooping,” as the report described, happened even as Costello was meeting with prosecutors “as Mr. Bannon’s attorney,” in what he thought were “good-faith discussions.”

Bannon’s filing includes notes from an FBI agent describing meetings with prosecutors, Costello’s exchanges with the committee and conversations Costello had about his contacts with the panel.

At issue in the case is whether Bannon, as a former adviser to Trump, is protected by executive privilege, which Trump says protects him from providing information.

Democrats are working to defeat that claim, but it could end up backfiring on them, as if they succeed in destroying Trump’s privacy protections – any future Republican president and Congress could demand virtually every single piece of information about the current administration of Joe Biden.

The report said the FBI notes also comment on Costello’s work from other famous clients, including former Trump adviser Rudy Giuliani.

The filing accuses the federal government of “‘outrageous and inappropriate” conduct. And the filing demands further information – including sharing the subpoena used to obtain the information, and revealing who at the main Justice Department signed off on the effort.

The Daily Mail explained, “Sources familiar with the case said it was a potential trap for defense counsel to be negotiating with government lawyers with a possible indictment looming, while lawyers are surreptitiously using the process for evidence-gathering in the case, while at the same time using subpoenas to glean information about a lawyer’s communications with a client.”

While the U.S. attorney’s office declined comment to the Daily Mail, Bannon’s team explained in the report the “impermissible interference with the attorney-client privilege” could be grounds to dismiss the case entirely.

The Department of Justice has been battling to restore its reputation ever since several of its employees took part in the strategy that created the now-debunked Russia collusion conspiracy theory against President Trump. Several individuals were fired over that situation, which was called out by a government inspector general who found a long list of wrong actions in that situation.

The facts that now have emerged show that the Hillary Clinton campaign promoted the “collusion” theory with the goal of diverting Americans’ attention from her email scandal, where she posted government secrets on an unsecure, private email system. The DOJ employees, in effect, helped her.

They ran with the false claim, acquiring the Democrat-funded “Steele dossier” and going to a secret court to obtain permission to spy on individuals from the Trump campaign. Those situations remain under federal investigation, with one conviction and several more indictments already resulting from a special investigation.

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