Here it is:
“Based on the committee’s investigation, it appears that Mr. Bannon had substantial advance knowledge of the plans for January 6 and likely had an important role in formulating those plans. Mr. Bannon was in the war room at the Willard on January 6. He also appears to have detailed knowledge regarding the president’s efforts to sell millions of Americans the fraud that the election was stolen…Mr. Bannon’s and Mr. Trump’s privilege arguments do however appear to reveal one thing: They suggest that President Trump was personally involved in the planning and execution of January 6. And this committee will get to the bottom of that.”
Which, well, whoa!
What Cheney is saying is that the actions of late taken by Bannon and Trump — both have cited executive privilege for their refusal to cooperate with the committee’s requests for information — are, in and of themselves, suggestions that both men did things in the run-up to the riot at the US Capitol (and on the day of the insurrection) they are trying to hide.
Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, who chairs the committee, said this on Wednesday afternoon:
“I think ‘plan’ is relative. There’s no question [Trump] tweeted about it in the very beginning. The majority of the people in this country didn’t know what January 6 was all about when he did it. He created the narrative up to the point. Planned the rally — and obviously he said, you need to go to the Hill and let people know you don’t like what’s going on.”
Let’s remember what we know about the actions of Trump and Bannon — both on January 6 and the days leading up to it.
Trump spoke to the “Stop the Steal” rally that morning, telling attendees that “we fight like hell. And if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.” He then returned to the White House.
And as CNN noted the day after the riot:
“Only after pleading from aides and Congressional allies inside the besieged Capitol building did Trump release a taped video urging the mass of his supporters — many carrying Trump flags or wearing Trump paraphernalia — to ‘go home,’ while still fanning their misplaced grievances about a stolen election.”
Trump’s statement, in retrospect, was even worse than it appeared at the time.
“This was a fraudulent election, but we can’t play into the hands of these people,” Trump said on a day that would lead to five people killed and more than 100 police officers wounded. “We have to have peace. So go home. We love you; you’re very special.”
(Sidebar: More than 600 people have been charged with crimes for their actions that day.)
As for Bannon, he was knee-deep in January 6. As authors Bob Woodward and Robert Costa recount in their book “Peril“:
“‘You’ve got to call Pence off the [expletive] ski slopes and get him back here today. This is a crisis.’ Bannon said, referring to the vice president who was vacationing in Vail, Colorado.
“Bannon told Trump to focus on January 6. That was the moment for a reckoning.
“‘People are going to go ‘What the [expletive] is going on here?’ Bannon believed. ‘We’re going to bury Biden on January 6th, [expletive] bury him.’
“If Republicans could cast enough of a shadow on Biden’s victory on January 6, Bannon said, it would be hard for Biden to govern. Millions of Americans would consider him illegitimate. They would ignore him. They would dismiss him and wait for Trump to run again.
“‘We are going to kill it in the crib. Kill the Biden presidency in the crib,’ he said.”
And in the wake of the January 6 insurrection, Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, invoked Bannon in trying to understand the origins of that day. “It was a planned revolution,” Woodward and Costa wrote. “Steve Bannon’s vision coming to life. Bring it all down, blow it up, burn it, and emerge with power.”
Bannon, speaking on his “War Room” podcast in late September, confirmed that had huddled with Trump to plot a way to fundamentally undermine the Biden presidency on January 6 and even sort-of declared victory.
“It killed itself,” Bannon said of the Biden presidency, according to an account in Newsweek. “Just look at what this illegitimate regime is doing. It killed itself. OK? But we told you from the very beginning, just expose it, just expose it, never back down, never give up and this thing will implode.”
Make note then of what Cheney said on Tuesday night: The very fact that Trump and Bannon are trying to invoke executive privilege over what they said and did both on January 6 and in the days leading up to it suggests that the then-President was “personally involved in the planning and execution of January 6.”
That is a VERY big deal.