Bannon wanted to “raise the temperature” after the violence of January 6
Former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon had floated the idea of more violence in the days following the Jan. 6, 2021, uprising on the U.S. Capitol, according to text messages obtained by the House Select Committee that has investigated the attack.
The House Jan. 6 committee released its latest batch of documents on Monday about its investigation into the insurgency and the political actors who planned it, including the former president. The committee formally recommended last month that the Justice Department charge Trump with several charges related to the attack, including incitement to insurrection.
One of the transcripts of testimony the committee released on Monday is of Alexandra Preate, who served as Bannon’s spokeswoman from 2016 to 2020.
A text exchange between Preate and Bannon on Jan. 8, 2021, which was obtained by the House Select Committee, revealed the former Trump adviser wanted to ‘turn up the heat’ in the days following the insurgency. murderous. Despite attempts by Trump supporters to block Congress and then-Vice President Mike Pence from certifying Electoral College votes for Joe Biden on Jan. 6, the majority of lawmakers did their duty that day.
According to the texts, Preate then messaged Bannon about Trump still residing in Washington and asked when the Republican president planned to leave town before Biden’s inauguration.
“He’s not staying in the White House past the 20th,” Bannon replied, referring to Biden’s inauguration date. “But who said we don’t have a million people the next day?”
Preate told the select committee she didn’t know what Bannon was referring to when he mentioned the million people, but said she thought he was talking about people “walking or standing there or something like that”.
The committee then showed a later text by Bannon to Preate in which he said, “Well, I would surround the Capitol in complete silence.”
Preate testified that she did not recall Bannon speaking to her more about bringing people back to Washington, even after the riot at the Capitol.
Preate said there was a period when Trump and Bannon didn’t speak to each other, but the two restarted communications before the 2020 election. She said Bannon was “very private about his conversations, not just with the president but with other people in general”.
She also testified that her work with Bannon didn’t focus much on his “War Room” podcast, where he and right-wing guests often amplified baseless accusations that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Trump and pushed calls for rebellion.
A federal jury convicted Bannon in July of acting in defiance of Congress, and he was sentenced in October to four months and a $6,500 fine. The Trump ally declined to turn over communications and other documents to the House committee on Jan. 6 and declined to appear before the bipartisan panel of lawmakers for deposition in their investigation.
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