Steve Bannon, Roger Stone and Alex Jones walked into a bar… there’s a joke somewhere in there, but I’m damned if I can put a finger on it. I will say this much: If Bannon, Stone and Jones walked into a plot to overthrow a national presidential election, said plot is even further out into the ether than anyone ever suspected. Paging Mr. Trump: Your table is ready. Our special today is gall with wormwood, tossed on a bed of what the hell were you up to with these strange people?
If the “U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol” has its way, we may actually come to know the answer to that question. According to The New York Times, the committee “issued five new subpoenas on Monday, targeting allies of former President Donald J. Trump who helped draw crowds to Washington before the riot, including the political operative Roger J. Stone Jr. and the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.”
Bannon, the former Trump adviser and Breitbart chairman, was served subpoenas by the committee several weeks ago. He blew them off with an arrogant wave, ultimately finding himself charged with contempt and under arrest. Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows also ignored the subpoenas he was served, doing so just before Bannon was indicted. Dozens of other subpoenas have been issued in the course of the investigation.
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It’s OK if you have to take a second with this; I certainly did. Granted, Bannon sprays overhyped nihilist gibberish like the fountains at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, but at least he actually worked in the Trump White House for a few seconds. Stone is a Batman villain caricature, certainly on the inside with Trump after having been granted clemency for his role in the Russia election scandal, but a walking joke nonetheless. And Jones, well… he is shortly to be rendered pantless before the world now that a judge has turned the aggrieved families of Sandy Hook victims loose on him.
“The Select Committee is seeking information about the rallies and subsequent march to the Capitol that escalated into a violent mob attacking the Capitol and threatening our democracy,” Select Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson said after the newest subpoenas were revealed. “We need to know who organized, planned, paid for, and received funds related to those events, as well as what communications organizers had with officials in the White House and Congress.”
There is little doubt the pair will have a story to tell, if they actually decide to testify. Vanity Fair reports:
Jones … has publicly said that he helped organize one of the rallies January 6, where Trump called on supporters to “fight much harder” on his behalf. Jones also spoke at a rally the day before in Freedom Plaza, promoting Trump’s election lies that Democrats “have tried to steal this election in front of everyone” and promising to battle against “tyranny.” “I don’t know how this is all going to end,” the InfoWars host said on the eve of the insurrection, “but if they want to fight, they better believe they’ve got one.”
In their letter to Jones, the January 6 committee acknowledged that he was “recorded telling people not to be violent” during his appearance at that day’s rally. But he also repeatedly raised the temperature in the lead-up to the riot, warning his crowd that they are “under attack” and that they need to “get on a war-footing.” “We declare 1776 against the new world order,” Jones said ahead of the insurrection.
Stone … was one of the biggest proponents of the former president’s Big Lie about the 2020 election, and made appearances at rallies in Washington, D.C., ahead of the January 6 march. He is also said to have used members of the Oath Keepers extremist group as bodyguards while in Washington. Stone on Monday denied having “advance knowledge of the events that took place at the Capitol on that day.”
Plenty of smoke, perhaps some fire, and maybe not enough time. Bannon, Stone and Jones are notorious publicity hogs who will almost certainly do everything they can to delay their testimony (while turning a buck off of their “victimhood”). If they can hold the committee at arm’s length long enough, and if the Republicans retake majority control of the House next year, the select committee will be rolled up like a carpet and stuffed into storage.
Still, take that moment. Say you’re a president staring defeat in the face. You refuse to accept it. Who do you call? Those guys!
Why not, right? It makes as much sense as buying Greenland, or injecting yourself with bleach.