In Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, a new book by Michael Wolff, Steve Bannon reportedly spoke candidly on the infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya set up under the pretense that Veselnitskaya had damaging oppo on Hillary Clinton.
“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 the Guardian. “They didn’t have any lawyers.”
Bannon, a Bretbart executive, and problematic dumbass who was bounced out of his role as White House chief strategist in under seven months, has been consistent in his distrust of Kushner’s judgement. In May, Bannon told Charlie Rose that Trump’s dismissal of former FBI Director James Comey, a move reportedly championed by Kushner, was “the biggest mistake in political history” because it led to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller.
Bannon continues to roast the “brain trust” that comprised campaign leadership and basically admits that Breitbart, the hard-right “news” website he helms, is nothing more than propaganda. He also seems to admit that his main issue with Trump’s inner circle isn’t that they were doing something unlawful, but that they were bad at covering their tracks. His gripe is that the campaign officials were too dumb to be effectively corrupt. From the Guardian:
“Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad shit, 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 told Wolff that Mueller’s probe was going to hinge on money laundering, which, to be fair, anyone following coverage of the investigation would know, and that didn’t bode well for President Trump and his immediate family: “They’re going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV,” he said.
Bannon also predicted that the president’s son-in-law would ultimately be his undoing, which, frankly doesn’t take a so-called “great manipulator” to foresee. From the Guardian:
“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 fucking Trump goes right through Paul Manafort, Don Jr and Jared Kushner … It’s as plain as a hair on your face.”
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 shit. The Kushner shit 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.”
Scorning apparent White House insouciance, Bannon reaches for a hurricane metaphor: “They’re sitting on a beach trying to stop a Category Five.”
Wolff is the same writer to whom Bannon said “Darkness is good…Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That’s power.” following Trump’s 2016 election victory.
UPDATE: The White House released a statement on Wednesday afternoon responding to the claims Bannon made in Wolff’s book.
“Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my presidency,” Trump said. “When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind.”
In statement, Trump says only thing Bannon does well is leak to the media:”Steve pretends to be at war with the media, which he calls the opposition party, yet he spent his time at the White House leaking false information to the media to make himself seem far more important” pic.twitter.com/vnGq0aT34t
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) January 3, 2018