Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani on Friday threw out a conspiracy theory about the deadly Capitol insurrection that was so insane, fellow conspiracist Steve Bannon had to jump in and pump the brakes.
Giuliani, currently facing a billion-dollar defamation lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems for pushing baseless claims of voter fraud about the company, has been on a mission recently to distance former President Donald Trump (and himself) from the seditious riot that the president incited on Jan. 6.
While Giuliani recently said he cannot defend Trump in his Senate impeachment trial because he’s a witness—Giuliani infamously called for “trial by combat” at the Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” rally preceding the MAGA riot—the former New York City mayor has attempted to present an alternate reality of what actually occurred that day.
After initially claiming that the riot was “99 percent peaceful,” Giuliani has since latched onto the Trumpist talking point that the violence was actually instigated by antifa and other leftist groups, despite the FBI saying there’s no evidence of antifa involvement. At least 21 of the rioters arrested, meanwhile, have direct ties to right-wing extremist groups.
Bannon, who was recently pardoned by Trump and was directly involved in promoting the “Stop the Steal” rally, welcomed Giuliani on his War Room podcast on Friday to discuss the ex-president’s impeachment defense. And while Bannon has been as equally responsible as Giuliani for peddling the “Big Lie” that the election was “stolen” from Trump due to widespread voter fraud, he wasn’t buying everything Giuliani was selling on Friday.
Saying that the Capitol riot was planned by antifa and “even some right-wing groups that were enemies” of Trump, the ex-mayor wildly claimed that anti-Trump political action committee The Lincoln Project was involved in this supposed scheme.
“Hang on! Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa—what are you saying ‘working for The Lincoln Project?’ Right-wing groups, like who?” Bannon quickly interjected.
“One of the people who organized this is well-known for having worked with The Lincoln Project in the past,” a wide-eyed Giuliani exclaimed.
As the one-time America’s Mayor continued to go down his rabbit hole, Bannon tried to stop Giuliani—only for the Trump lawyer to demand that he be allowed to finish his theory.
“Go ahead,” a bemused Bannon replied.
Giuliani, meanwhile, spun a tale about how this one person purportedly linked to The Lincoln Project had the “same motivation as the antifa people had,” which was to “blow this thing up.” He went on to say a lot of the right-wing groups involved in the riot “weren’t pro-Trump” and that the “biggest problems were caused by antifa—where the shooting took place.”
(It appears Giuliani is linking John Sullivan, who recorded the footage of Ashli Babbitt’s shooting and was later arrested for taking part in storming the Capitol, to antifa. While Sullivan took part in Black Lives Matter demonstrations in the past, left-wing groups have long denounced him as an “agent provocateur” looking to exploit protest violence for fame.)
“So who’s the guy working with The Lincoln Project?” Bannon eventually circled back.
“I don’t know if I can reveal his name,” Giuliani muttered. “Because we have that from anonymous sources. But he worked in the past for [Utah Sen. Mitt] Romney.”
Bannon, in an oddly rare self-reflective moment, said they are “getting blown up all the time” for tossing out specious and inflammatory speculation of this nature.
“You can’t throw a charge out there like that and then say, ‘I have a double secret probation guy who I can’t mention but he worked for Romney and worked for The Lincoln Project,’” he further scolded Giuliani.
Of course, it isn’t as if Bannon has suddenly seen the light of his dangerously conspiratorial ways. Elsewhere in the discussion, he said Trump’s impeachment defense should focus on election fraud to “fix November 3” as the “hard facts” show “that this thing was stolen.”
The Lincoln Project, meanwhile, appeared to take the baseless allegations thrown at them in stride, snarking on Twitter that Giuliani went from calling for “trial by combat” to blaming them for the insurrection in a matter of weeks.