Seriously, Steve Bannon. Have you ever done anything that wasn’t self-serving?
Now that the mask is off, we know several things, thanks to Michael Wolff’s book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.”
We know that Bannon was likely the source of the leaks from the early months of the Trump White House, and he had a lot of really unflattering things to say about Trump and his family.
We also know that he was no fan of Trump’s and only got on board after the wealthy Mercers, who bankroll Breitbart, wanted him installed on Trump’s team during the elections.
Mercer money was apparently the carrot dangled to get Bannon on board with a man he saw as a narcissistic idiot.
CNN is reporting today on Bannon’s work with the Government Accountability Institute (GAI), a conservative watchdog group that set about in the early days of the 2016 Republican primary to prove Donald Trump was involved with the mob.
The anti-Trump opposition research was the work of author Peter Schweizer for the Government Accountability Institute, which he cofounded with Bannon in 2012. It described years of alleged business connections between Trump companies and organized crime figures, allegations that have circulated among Trump detractors for years.
Ask people of New York and New Jersey.
The twisted nature of politics is all over this. The Mercer family, who were the major donors to Trump’s campaign, are the backers of GAI. Rebekah Mercer is the group’s chairwoman. In 2015, when the first document related to the Trump oppo-research was released, the Mercers were still backing Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Bannon hadn’t joined Trump’s campaign, yet.
Ted Cruz actually alluded to Trump’s rumored mob ties during the primary race, and some say that’s one reason he won’t show his tax returns.
A source familiar with GAI’s work said the group conducted research on all Republican and Democratic candidates running in the 2016 election. Bannon and the Mercers were not involved in the “day to day machinations of the research,” but the source said they were aware of the effort to drill down on candidates and share some of that research with news organizations.
A GOP operative provided CNN a copy of the anti-Trump document. Two sources confirmed that GAI shopped copies of the document to donors for Trump rivals during the GOP primary.
“We did not and would not share that with any candidates,” the source familiar with GAI’s work said. “There would be no sharing with candidates, with political operatives or anybody of that category.”
The Mercers, Bannon, and Schweizer all jumped the Trump train, at some point.
It’s not clear if Trump knows Bannon’s group were pursuing the mob story.
It’s equally unclear how deep the alleged mob ties run.
What’s known is that around 30 years ago, Trump was blocked from opening a casino in Australia’s New South Wales, because authorities felt it would be “dangerous,” given Trump’s rumored ties to the Russian mob.
Oops. Russians, again.
These are likely what Bannon’s group was investigating, before the apparent draw to power and something in it for them made them drop the research.