Yeah. I’m not going to argue with Bannon, on this one.
The Guardian has gotten a peek at a book called “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.” It’s a book based on more than 200 interviews with Trump, and various members of his inner circle, including former White House chief strategist and campaign Svengali, Steve Bannon.
I might have to buy this book. It sounds like a doozy.
I don’t know if Bannon’s contribution to the book came before or after he exited the White House with John Kelly’s boot-print squarely on the seat of his pants, but he had some pretty strong words, particularly about the ongoing Russia probe.
One thing he told author Michael Wolff was that the investigation would center on money laundering (which we’ve already seen a bit of). He also predicted that Donald Trump Jr. would be cracked like an egg on national TV.
Bannon apparently believes the junior Trump made a true, boneheaded move by entertaining several Russian visitors at Trump Tower, after emails showed he thought they’d be talking about dirt on Hillary Clinton.
The meeting was revealed by the New York Times in July last year, prompting Trump Jr to say no consequential material was produced. Soon after, Wolff writes, Bannon remarked mockingly: “The three senior guys in the campaign thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower in the conference room on the 25th floor – with no lawyers. They didn’t have any lawyers.
“Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad sh*t, and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately.”
Bannon went on, Wolff writes, to say that if any such meeting had to take place, it should have been set up “in a Holiday Inn in Manchester, New Hampshire, with your lawyers who meet with these people”. Any information, he said, could then be “dump[ed] … down to Breitbart or something like that, or maybe some other more legitimate publication”.
Bannon added: “You never see it, you never know it, because you don’t need to … But that’s the brain trust that they had.”
I don’t think that “brain trust” has Bannon’s approval.
Or maybe he’s just bitter, considering he served as Trump’s brain for as long as he did.
President Trump recently remarked that he felt Mueller would be fair to him, but also said he felt the dragging on of the investigation was harmful to the nation.
Meanwhile, he’s got a team of Republican lawmakers, including Devin Nunes, Rep. Matt Gaetz, and Rep. Ron DeSantis all running a campaign to discredit Mueller and the FBI.
Bannon also slammed the misplaced hopes of a quick end to the Mueller investigation.
“You realise where this is going,” he is quoted as saying. “This is all about money laundering. Mueller chose [senior prosecutor Andrew] Weissmann first and he is a money-laundering guy. Their path to f**king Trump goes right through Paul Manafort, Don Jr and Jared Kushner … It’s as plain as a hair on your face.”
He’s not wrong. Some of the known moves of Mueller appear to be picking off peripheral players and working inward.
Last month it was reported that federal prosecutors had subpoenaed records from Deutsche Bank, the German financial institution that has lent hundreds of millions of dollars to the Kushner property empire. Bannon continues: “It goes through Deutsche Bank and all the Kushner sh*t. The Kushner sh*t is greasy. They’re going to go right through that. They’re going to roll those two guys up and say play me or trade me.”
So nepotism in high seats of government can be troublesome. Who knew?
Scorning apparent White House insouciance, Bannon reaches for a hurricane metaphor: “They’re sitting on a beach trying to stop a Category Five.”
I’m going to go out on a limb and say Bannon is worried, although, not for himself. He insists he doesn’t know any Russians, doesn’t deal with Russians, and won’t be made a focus of any of this.
Maybe not a focus, but recent reports are that he’s been asked to come in and speak with some congressional committees.
The rancour between Bannon and “Javanka” – Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump – is a recurring theme of the book. Kushner and Ivanka are Jewish. Henry Kissinger, the former secretary of state, is quoted as saying: “It is a war between the Jews and the non-Jews.”
I don’t know if that’s the problem between Bannon and “Javanka.” I believe it’s more of a clash of political philosophies. Bannon worked hard to drive the populist message, while “Javanka” are big government liberals who have interests abroad.
Trump is not spared. Wolff writes that Thomas Barrack Jr, a billionaire who is one of the president’s oldest associates, allegedly told a friend: “He’s not only crazy, he’s stupid.”
The book is scheduled to be published next week, and Wolff, a media critic who has written for The Guardian, as well as being the biographer of Rupert Murdoch claims it was written with no other agenda than to get what insiders were thinking and feeling in those critical moments of the new presidency.