Trump-appointed judge assigned to Bannon case may not necessarily be good news

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The federal judge who has been assigned former Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s case was appointed to the bench by his former boss, but he’s not being looked upon as a jurist who is going to rubber-stamp an acquittal.

U.S. District Judge Carl J. Nichols, the judge assigned the #Bannon contempt of Congress case, was appointed to the bench in 2019 by President Donald Trump,” noted former USA Today managing editor Donna Leinwand Leger on Twitter, after news broke Friday afternoon that Bannon was indicted by a grand jury after failing to appear before the House Select Committee on Jan. 6 in response to a subpoena.

Politico’s national correspondent, Betsy Woodruff Swan, went on to note that Nichols “clerked for [Supreme Court Justice] Clarence Thomas,” who is considered one of the high court’s constitutional originalists.

Liberal Democrats, however, initially decried the assignment, including Republican-turned-Democrat attorney Ron Filipkowski, who noted on Twitter, “Talk about killing a vibe.”

“Welp, it was fun imagining a world where Trump insiders face consequences for their actions,” liberal Vox journalist Ian Millhiser added.

But others are not so sure that the appointment of Nichols is a slam-dunk for Bannon based on cases that the judge has heard in relation to challenges filed on behalf of Trump’s failed 2020 presidential campaign, namely lawsuits involving some of his former campaign attorneys and Dominion Voting Systems.

“A federal judge REJECTS requests from Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell and Mike Lindell to dismiss Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation lawsuits, each of which is in the amount of $1.3 billion,” political commentator Brian Tyler Cohen noted in August, when Nichols ruled in that case.

Other Trump critics like Norm Eisen also believe that Nichols is going to be “fair” despite his conservative bona fides.

That position is bolstered by a recent decision by Nichols to sentence a Jan. 6 rioter to 30 days in jail for breaching the Capitol Building.

For his part, Bannon has said he defied the Jan. 6 subpoena while court cases asserting executive privilege wind their way through courts. His indictment for ignoring a congressional subpoena is considered rare in legal circles, as officials from previous administrations have ignored them as well without recourse or penalty.

During his “War Room” podcast on Friday, he remained defiant and asserted that Trump-centric Republicans are taking over the party.

“Remember, there are no whining and no tears in the War Room. We’re taking action, and that action is, we’re taking over school boards, we’re taking over the Republican Party through the precinct committee strategy, we’re taking over all the elections,” he noted.

Jon Dougherty


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