Following beheadings comments, Bannon's troubles get a little worse

When accused felons are out on bond, they're not supposed to speak out in support of beheading public officials - including the head of the FBI.
Image: Steve Bannon speaks with Richard Engel near St. Peter's Square at the Vatican.
Steve Bannon speaks with Richard Engel near St. Peter's Square at the Vatican.NBC News

Steve Bannon, Donald Trump's former chief strategist, apparently thought it'd be a good idea to endorse the decapitations of two prominent federal officials. That appears to have set a series of dominos in motion.

Twitter banned an account associated with Steve Bannon on Thursday and YouTube removed one of his videos after the former Trump adviser called for the beheadings of two federal officials. Bannon, in a video for his podcast recording, had said he wanted to behead FBI Director Christopher Wray and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious diseases expert.

Bannon specifically said he would "put the heads on pikes" as a "warning to federal bureaucrats."

It wasn't long before Twitter "permanently suspended" Bannon's account for violating the social-media company's policy against "the glorification of violence." YouTube didn't ban Bannon's account, but it did remove the offensive video, and gave the account a "strike" -- and three strikes would lead to the termination of the account.

And while all of this is notable in its own right, there's a complicating factor: Bannon is currently only free as part of his pre-trial release, which comes with certain conditions.

As regular readers may recall, Bannon was indicted over the summer as part of an alleged border-wall scheme, in which prosecutors accused him and his associates of having "orchestrated a scheme to defraud hundreds of thousands of donors." Soon after, Bannon pleaded not guilty and was released on a $5 million bond.

The trouble is, when accused felons are out on bond, they're not supposed to speak out in support of beheading public officials -- including, in this case, the head of the FBI.

It's against this backdrop that CNBC reported today that Bannon's criminal defense lawyers are withdrawing from the case.

"Mr. Bannon is in the process of retaining new counsel, and [the firm of] Quinn Emanuel intends to move to withdraw," wrote his lead attorney, William Burck, in the filing in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, where Bannon is scheduled to go on trial next May.

It's possible that this is a coincidence. It's also possible that Bannon's lawyers saw his comments and decided they didn't want to defend him anymore.