Former Trump strategist and election conspiracy theorist Steve Bannon has retained lawyer David Schoen to defend him against contempt of Congress charges—notably despite the fact that he openly mocked Schoen during former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial.
After being indicted by a federal grand jury last week, Bannon surrendered to federal authorities on Monday morning. The MAGA ally was charged after ignoring a subpoena from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection. The one-time Breitbart chief is scheduled to first appear in front of a federal judge on Monday afternoon.
Schoen, meanwhile, notified the district court on Monday that he will represent Bannon. While Schoen has represented other Trump associates in the past, such as self-described “dirty trickster” Roger Stone, he is probably best known for defending the disgraced ex-president during his impeachment for inciting the Capitol riots.
During those Senate impeachment proceedings, however, Bannon did not seem to think much of Schoen’s legal or political acumen, comparing the attorney to an “absent-minded professor” and blasting him for not peddling debunked claims of election fraud.
On the Feb. 2 broadcast of his War Room podcast, first flagged at the time by liberal watchdog Media Matters, Bannon declared that Schoen’s argument on behalf of Trump “misses the mark” because it relied on “victimization.”
Complaining that Trump and his allies were “in a terrible situation” because his lawyers wouldn’t argue that the election was stolen from Trump, Bannon then took aim at both Schoen’s personal appearance and his unwillingness to push conspiracies.
“And then this guy shows up last night with the beard,” Bannon grumbled. “Hey, I don’t look great with a beard either, but hey, man, the beard’s got to come off. You can’t go in there like the absent-minded professor.”
He continued: “You’ve got to bring the heat. The Democrats are bringing heat. They’re coming in hot on this thing. And I’ve heard people say already, ‘Well, it’s not legally tight.’ It doesn’t have to be legally tight, this is not a legal process. They know they don’t have the votes.”
Fast-forward nine months: Bannon has now turned to Schoen for his own defense counsel.
The House committee is seeking testimony from Bannon, who was pardoned by Trump last year as he faced embezzlement charges, over his role in planning the D.C. rallies that preceded the violent Jan. 6 attack. Besides relentlessly promoting the “Stop the Steal” events on his podcast, Bannon reportedly met with Trump’s then-legal advisers and was linked to a mass of text messages that promoted the Jan. 6 rallies.