The grand jury indictment of former Trump senior advisor Steve Bannon, who turned himself in to the Manhattan DA’s office this morning, for money laundering, conspiracy, and scheming to defraud is pretty cut and dry.
As President and CEO of WeBuildTheWall, Inc., the pardoned Trump ally didn’t just defraud his donors, he did it knowingly and brazenly.
WeBuildTheWall, Inc., raised—and stole—tens of millions of dollars in a relatively short time in 2019. Listed as “Unindicted Co-Conspirator 1” in the indictment, Bannon transferred hundreds of thousands of dollars to himself and a company he helmed, “Unindicted Co-Conspirator Entity 1,” all while publicly claiming to donors that he would “personally not take a penny of compensation from these donations.”
Text messages between Bannon and his co-conspirators not only revealed the opposite, but that it was never his intent.
In text messages exchanged on or about December 30, 2018 between Bannon and a high-level WeBuildTheWall,Inc. affiliate and unindicted co-conspirator known to the Grand Jury (“Unindicted Co-Conspirator 2”), Unindicted Co-Conspirator 2 stated that if Unindicted Co-Conspirator 1 were to promise that he would not take a salary that it would be “the most talked about media narrative ever!” In text messages exchanged on or about January 11, 2019, Unindicted Co- Conspirator 2 stated to Bannon that this promise “removes all self-interest taint on this” and it “gives [Unindicted Co-Conspirator 1] saint hood.”
The conspiracy-theory-pushing grifter couldn’t help bragging via text that he’d be paid an initial $100,000 and $20,000 a month while lying to his potential donors, posting online:
“Everyone who donates right now, your money goes towards this wall. 100% of your money goes towards the wall. It’s not going to line someone’s pocket. I’m taking zero dollars of a salary, no compensation. It’s going towards the wall;”
“I thought it was pretty clear. I made a promise that I would NEVER take a penny 100% of fundraising through [theCrowdfundingWebsite] donations will only go towards the wall, 100% means 100% right? Board won’t see any of that money! Donations will be accountable by an audit committee as well.”
Except we know better.
Ever the gaslighter, Bannon couldn’t help but self-own when saying he would have to be “stupid” to take money from WeBuildTheWall, Inc. A point driven home in the last paragraph of the indictment:
On or about December 31, 2019, while WeBuildTheWall, Inc. was still taking donations and representing that Unindicted Co-Conspirator 1 was not receiving a salary from WeBuildTheWall,Inc., Unindicted Co-Conspirator 1 stated on behalf of WeBuildTheWall,Inc., in a public media appearance that “[UnindictedCo-Conspirator 1] would have to be the stupidest person in the world to do anything wrong with [the money raised by WeBuildTheWall,Inc.] with everyone watching me. I mean we see it all the time, but this is on like a grandiose [sic ] scale of, you know, what not to do with the money, and I made sure that we were good stewards to it and followed through on that promise.”
Steve Bannon has been on the receiving end of multiple “L’s” lately, after recently being found guilty of contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena to testify from the Jan. 6 House Select Committee.
While his former boss gave him a Hail Mary pardon from federal charges in the scam to build a wall on the New Mexico/Mexico border, the War Room host isn’t immune from state charges.
After sitting on his thumbs in regard to Trump, it’s good to see Manhattan AG Bragg got the assignment here and even better to see Bannon in handcuffs.
— Don Lewis (@DonLew87) September 8, 2022
Read the indictment here.
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