So did he go in there mad, or does he still have love for the cause of Trumpism?
Former White House chief strategist and exiled Breitbart chief, Steve Bannon, checked in for his closed doors meeting with the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday.
It’s expected that he’ll be asked about some of the quotes attributed to him in Michael Wolff’s book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.”
The former official told Wolff that a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between campaign officials and a Russian lawyer believed to have political dirt on Hillary Clinton was “treasonous.”
“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,” Bannon said, according to Wolff’s account. “Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic… you should have called the FBI immediately.”
Further, Bannon added, “the chance that [Donald Trump Jr.] did not walk these jumos up to his father’s office on the twenty-sixth floor is zero.”
To be clear, Bannon didn’t join Trump’s campaign team until August 2016, so he wasn’t involved in any way with the Trump Tower meeting between Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, and several Russians.
Lawmakers want to know how much Trump knew about that meeting, at the time, however.
“Specifically what’s the basis for his assertion that the president met with the participants in the Trump Tower meeting,” the committee’s top Democrat, Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), told ABC News’ Pierre Thomas. “What [Bannon] knows about the president’s knowledge of that meeting, as well as his concerns over money laundering which has been a persistent concern of ours as well.”
Financial issues do seem to be more of a concern with investigators. That’s what got former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort nipped, along with his partner, Robert Gates.
And it’s not just the book that has Bannon in the crosshairs, today.
Blackwater founder Erik Prince in December detailed to investigators a January meeting he held with a Russian banker in the Seychelles, brokered by the UAE.
Prince, who described his relationship to the Trump campaign as minimal and unofficial, acknowledged that Bannon had told him about a separate December 2016 meeting between the Trump transition team and UAE officials.
But Prince said he could not remember whether the conversation with Bannon took place before or after his trip to the Seychelles—an answer that left committee Democrats dissatisfied.
Yeah. That sounds like it might be important.
Prince has written off his meeting with Kirill Dmitriev (Russian investment banking guru) as informal, no big deal. He said his more pressing concerns for being there dealt with Emirati officials, discussions on terrorism, and some conceptual discussion on mineral-related business.
“It was a matter of, ‘Hey, while you’re here, there’s a Russian guy that we’ve done some business with in the past, and it’d be interesting for you to meet him,’” Prince told investigators.
“We know from the Erik Prince testimony…that [Prince] had a meeting with Steve Bannon before he made that trip to the Seychelles traveling halfway around the world to have what he described essentially as a coincidental meeting with a Russian in a bar,” Schiff told ABC News.
“Which just happened to be a head of one of the Russian Investment Banks, so we’d like to know whether Steve Bannon was involved in establishing any kind of a back channel of with the Russians.”
To kick off Bannon’s testimony, President Trump lashed out with a crazed tweet about the investigation.
Do you notice the Fake News Mainstream Media never likes covering the great and record setting economic news, but rather talks about anything negative or that can be turned into the negative. The Russian Collusion Hoax is dead, except as it pertains to the Dems. Public gets it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 16, 2018
It reminds me of a line from a disturbing Kate Winslet movie called, “Little Children.”
The always excellent Jackie Earle Haley’s tortured sex offender character, “Ronnie,” tells his date, during a particularly uncomfortable scene in the movie, “You’d better not tell on me. I’ll get you. You’d better not tell on me!”
Yeah. It was kind of like that.
Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is also due to appear this week.