The Daily Beast – a far-left web blog – appears to be channeling the panic emanating from those who have supported the criminal prosecution of former Trump advisor Stephen K. Bannon for “contempt of Congress”.
In an article from Thursday morning, the site reports:
Bannon is attempting to force investigators to potentially expose who they’ve talked to and what they’ve said, peek into secret communications on the committee, and create a playbook for other resistant witnesses, according to several legal experts.
As Bannon faces criminal charges, he’s entitled to the evidence against him. And in a typical galaxy-brain, Bannon countergambit, Trump’s former senior adviser is trying to make some of that evidence public.
According to a Sunday night court filing by federal prosecutors, that includes secret witness interviews by law enforcement and internal communications between House committee staff members. The Justice Department claims that, if this material were exposed to the public, it would cause “specific harms” like “witness tampering,” with the added effect of making it difficult to find impartial jurors at a future trial.
In reality, such legal maneuvers are both commonplace and indeed best practice. But it’s not so much the move itself, rather the target of the move – the politicized Justice Department – which has Bannon’s critics on their back feet.
“It’s not about trying the case in the media. It’s about making it costly for the committee to go after him,” attorney Kel McClanahan told The Daily Beast. “It is graymail, pure and simple: You can’t touch me, because if you do then I’ll spill your secrets.”
The term “graymail” refers to the perceived threat of releasing state secrets as a means by which to elicit leniency from the government, a notion Bannon’s lawyers have rejected.
“This is a misdemeanor case,” they wrote in Tuesday’s filing. “It is not a case where witnesses have been intimidated. In the absence of any specific, particularized showing of actual harm, the Government conjures up a bogeyman.”
They added: “being able to use discovery materials to identify and question witnesses is not an improper purpose.”
Expect more panic from the left media as the case fails to go the way they hoped.