'Like interviewing the Joker': Eric Swalwell predicts 'zero' value from Steve Bannon’s potential testimony
United States Representative Eric Swalwell said on Sunday's edition of MSNBC's American Voices with Alicia Menendez that the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol should prepare to treat former President Donald Trump's Oval Office adviser Steve Bannon as a loose cannon and a hostile witness.
Host Alicia Menendez asked Swalwell what he believes Bannon may have of value to offer to the bipartisan panel, should it accept his offer to testify while a criminal contempt of Congress charge looms over Bannon's head. That proposal was accompanied by a letter from Trump, which painted Bannon as a victim of political malpractice.
“I watched how unfairly you and others have been treated,” Trump complained. “Therefore, if you reach an agreement on a time and place for your testimony, I will waive Executive Privilege for you, which allows for you to go in and testify truthfully and fairly, as per the request of the Unselect committee of political Thugs and Hacks, who have allowed no Due Process, no Cross-Examination, and no real Republican members or witnesses.”
Nonetheless, Swalwell's unvarnished response to Menendez's question was comically foreboding.
"I can only tell you I've interviewed Steve Bannon before. I was one of the lead investigators for the Russia prosecution, for Bannon's interview. I would expect zero. Absolutely nothing," Swalwell emphatically stated. "This guy was like interviewing the Joker. He's maniacal. He's insane. And it was a frustrating hours-long interview where we did not learn very much."
Bannon "had actually upset the Republicans. It was one of the only things that united us during the whole Russia investigation, was how much he upsetted the Republicans. He was joking around with his lawyers. They kept trying to get him to take it seriously. I would not expect very much. I don't think, you know, a leopard like Bannon should change its spots. So again, if the commission knows more than I know, that's great, they should proceed. But I would proceed very, very carefully with this guy," Swalwell cautioned.
"Right. He knows that. Donald Trump knows that. It's just the same argument they have been making for months because they know they have no other argument to make," Menendez remarked.
"I do wonder though why you think that now, again, understanding a lot of this unfortunately with them is theater, why you have Trump saying, 'go ahead?'" she asked.
"Again I think it's a power play by Trump believing that he has, you know, a waiver that he doesn't and that he can release people and no one else can, including the courts," Swalwell replied. "That's – that's what I fear this is."
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