By Jason Taylor
Steve Bannon has intimate knowledge of the Trump campaign. As chief executive of the campaign, you would assume that he knows whether any collusion with the Russians occurred. And the recent breakdown of his relationship with Trump provides all the incentive in the world for him to present incriminating testimony. If he testifies that Trump colluded with the Russians, Mueller is likely to bring charges. But if Bannon is of no help, that would be a huge setback. If the head of the campaign has no incriminating testimony, who does? Bannon’s testimony is likely make or break for the collusion case. His testimony will decide whether or not there was collusion. This could be the make or break moment of Mueller’s investigation.
I hope that Bannon is so disaffected with his former Boss in the White House that he manages to tie Jared, Manafort and the entire Trump campaign staff in the permanent chains of treason.
Bannon is not immune to prosecution and neither is Trump. Both of those weasels believe they can protect themselves by claiming executive privilege. Bannon is in a risky position because of the comments he made to Michael Wolff which may negate the defense of executive privilege. Both of these men are failures on so many levels. Their reputations are ruined, they have been outed as ineffectual blowhards, and they are scrambling to keep clear of Mueller’s grasp. All this in just one year.
The only way Bannon is likely to add to the Mueller investigation is for items of which Mueller is already aware. Much of Bannon’s ideas and information has been reported; Bannon will deny whatever he can get away with.
Bannon is sophisticated and pragmatic. He was blindsided by the leaky White House, including Wolff, that scrutinized virtually everything that any of the leaders did or said, but unlike Trump, he won’t make the same mistakes twice. He lost his position in the White House for openly opposing “Jarvanka” (Jared/Ivanka) in stupendously stupid moves like hiring Scaramucci. Trump managed to drag the Mercer funding from Bannon at Breitbart as a result of the controversy since Trump is President with actual power and Bannon, as the detractor is nothing.
But Bannon will not throw anyone under the bus in official testimony. He is far too wily an operator for that. Such testimony would burn every bridge to virtually every funding source and every job ever available to him, whether he tells the truth or not — truth not being at a premium in Washington.
For a man as media savvy and cunning as Bannon, his very public fall from grace in early January was, to say the least, suspiciously grandiloquent and overdrawn. It struck me at the time as bizarre, particularly because it happened to a seasoned media veteran who rarely lost control of the narrative. His brief public feud and eventual break with Donald Trump was disturbing even by the standards of the current administration. “Bannon”, asserted Trump in early January, “had lost his mind”.
Let’s not get fooled by these two, and this orchestrated charade. Bannon knew Mueller was coming. As did Trump. They realized they had to “make space” between the two. Now cue the next part of this staged drama: when Huckabee-Sanders tells the DC press corps (with a straight face) that the Trump/Bannon bromance never amounted to anything anyway, and quotes their slightly-too-public feud as proof. “They hated each other.”
I’ve read Wolff’s book, Fire an Fury, and found that most of it was reasonable and thought out. One common thread through the whole book was Bannon warning people not to get involved with the Russians. Primarily, he kept after Hope Hicks telling her not to help Trump draft the letter about Russian adoptions and to distance herself from any business that had to do with Russia since Bannon thought it involved money laundering.
I don’t know what’s true and what isn’t, or who to believe at this point, but Bannon, according to the book, sure knows a lot about the background of Russian dealings, and money laundering by Trump.
I suspect before the end of the day, we will see Trump creating news to divert from this development. Hillary should be prepared to take the blame for something. Perhaps we will hear about how unfair the FBI is.
In the meantime, the government will run out of money on Friday… I’m guessing the Republicans will blame that on Obama.