Steve Bannon’s Going to Prison, but His Podcast Will Go On

Photo Illustration by Erin O’Flynn/The Daily Beast/Getty Images
Photo Illustration by Erin O’Flynn/The Daily Beast/Getty Images

In the minutes before Steve Bannon reports to a federal penitentiary Monday, he’ll tape one last episode of his War Room podcast—outside the Connecticut lockup he’ll soon call home.

“We’ll do the morning War Room to kick off a Monday just like everywhere, but I’ll do it outside the prison,” Bannon told The Daily Beast. “Then when I finish, I’ll drop the mic and then go surrender.”

Once he’s officially Bureau of Prisons (BOP) inmate No. 05635-509 at the low-security FCI Danbury, guest hosts will keep War Room churning out pro-MAGA messaging and crusading for Donald Trump’s 2024 reelection.

The ex-Trump adviser, convicted of contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the House committee probing the Capitol riots, had failed to persuade a federal appeals court and the U.S. Supreme Court to pause his sentence.

Steve Bannon, holding a microphone, points at the audience.

Bannon has spent months trying to avoid going to jail for contempt of Congress after he defied a subpoena from the January 6 Committee. He will drop his mic Monday morning.


In an interview with The Daily Beast on Sunday, Bannon, 70, seemed unfazed about his four-month prison sentence and presented himself as a MAGA martyr.

“It’s very simple,” said Bannon, who played a central role in the leadup to the Jan. 6 insurrection. “I’m a political prisoner, because I have a very successful platform that reaches the common man. They hate that, they will do anything to shut that down.

“It doesn’t matter that I’m in prison,” he added. “The show will be bigger… They’re making me a martyr. Steve Bannon is not. They’re the ones to overplay their hand.”

The ex-Trump strategist said he’ll be treated like any other prisoner and won’t get any “special deals.” As a former Naval officer—Bannon served from 1976 to 1983, leaving with the rank of lieutenant—he might be placed in a pod with other veterans but that’s not a guarantee, he said.

“I’m just showing up tomorrow,” Bannon said. “Let’s roll.”

While he can’t operate his podcast behind bars (it would violate prison rules on running a business), Bannon said he can opine on the day’s news via War Room or other outlets. He’s just not sure whether he’d be able to phone into shows.

About 20 different co-hosts—including right-wing politicians Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Lauren Boebert—are expected to keep War Room afloat as part of a months-long detailed plan until Bannon is free on Nov. 1, just in time for the election.

Congresswoman Lauren Boebert speaks into a microphone which is being held by an unseen member of the media.

Congresswoman Lauren Boebert (R-CO) will be behind the War Room microphone in Bannnon's absence, reflecting the podcast's MAGA fanaticism.

AAron Ontiveroz

He said the stand-ins also include conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec, former Trump administration official Kash Patel, far-right attorney Mike Davis, Senate candidate Royce White, former Fox News commentator Monica Crowley, and Noor bin Laden, Osama bin Laden’s niece who’s previously appeared on Bannon’s show.

The who’s-who of Bannon-world will also include Peter Navarro, another Trump adviser imprisoned for defying a House Jan. 6 committee subpoena, who’s expected to chip in once he’s released July 17.

War Room is broadcast four hours a day, five days a week (and two hours on Saturdays) from Bannon’s Capitol Hill residence, once nicknamed the Breitbart embassy when Bannon ran the far-right website from it.

One 2023 study labeled it a top spreader of misinformation; regular topics include election denialism and attacks on the “deep state.” Recent podcast titles include “All Globalists are Guilty,” “Tears of the Left,” and “Victory or Death.” At the same time, it has become a platform for ambitious, office-seeking MAGA Republicans.

“The audience will not notice any difference in the intensity, the urgency, the topics we cover, contributors,” Bannon told us. The personnel change will allow Bannon to focus on his aim of creating a lasting anti-establishment right-wing movement, rather than simply boosting Trump.

Donald Trump speaks on the phone in the Oval Office. Mike Pence is in a chair facing him and in the background Steve Bannon, dressed all in black, is holding a piece of paper.

Bannon was initially a key part of the Trump administration, hovering in the background as the then-president spoke to Russia's strongman leader Vladimit Putin days after taking office.

Drew Angerer

“We’re telling the audience: It’s next man up,” he continued. “Trump’s not always going to be around. [InfoWars conspiracy monger] Alex Jones is getting liquidated. [Gateway Pundit publisher] Jim Hoft’s in bankruptcy. Bannon’s in prison. You gotta only depend on yourself.”

Bannon said he requested the Danbury prison specifically as a “symbolic” gesture. The facility once housed Hollywood screenwriter Ring Lardner Jr.—one of few people to ever serve time for contempt of Congress. A member of the “Hollywood Ten,” Lardner refused to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947 about possible communist affiliations.

The Daily Beast asked the BOP whether Bannon calling in to a radio show, in particular his own, would be verboten. The agency doesn’t comment on inmates’ conditions of confinement, but referred us to its policy, which says: “Inmates may submit telephone numbers for any person they choose, including numbers for courts, elected officials and members of the news media.”

According to the FCI Danbury handbook, inmates can make 15-minute calls, and are allotted up to 300 monthly minutes, to 30 approved numbers, but phones “will not be used to conduct a business.” That leaves whether he could appear on his own show in 15-minute segments in the hands of prison officials.

Separately, Bannon is facing a criminal trial in New York state in September for allegedly defrauding donors to the nonprofit “We Build the Wall” online fundraising campaign. He has pleaded not guilty. Before Trump left office, he pardoned Bannon for these crimes on the federal level.

Last week, Bannon urged War Room fans not to write him in prison, saying “I don’t want you taking time to write a letter, I want you to get to work. This is all about victory.”

To Bannon, that victory includes re-electing former President Trump in November and taking down the “Leviathan” of the federal government.

Since Biden’s disastrous debate with Trump last week, Bannon has been strategizing with GOP officials “24/7” on how to portray the Democratic Party’s possible transfer to a new candidate in the coming months as “toxic.”

Prison, it would seem, won’t stop his MAGA mission.

“This is a unique opportunity we won’t have again,” Bannon said.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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