The mainstream media played host to a war of words between the Trump administration and former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon on Wednesday, with Bannon calling actions by Trump officials “treasonous” and the president saying his one-time ally has “lost his mind.”
Bannon’s comments came by way of a book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, which will be published next week. The Guardian, which received an early copy of the book, ran an article Wednesday revealing that Bannon is a key figure in the narrative and is quoted often.
One particular subject where the Bannon doesn’t mince words, the Guardian reports, is the June 2016 meeting between Trump officials and a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower in New York. Some claim the meeting’s objective was to obtain incriminating information 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,” the Guardian quotes Bannon as saying. “They didn’t have any lawyers.”
Bannon says these three senior officials — Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr., and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort — were the “brain trust” of the Trump campaign and should have considered the optics of such a move. He goes further, however, calling the closed-door meeting “unpatriotic” and even “treasonous,” the Guardian reports.
Bannon also said there’s “zero” chance Donald Trump was unaware of the meeting involving his son and predicts the Robert Mueller-led investigation into Russian collusion in the 2016 presidential election will eventually lead all the way to the top.
“You realize where this is going,” Bannon is quoted as saying. “This is all about money laundering. Mueller chose [senior prosecutor Andrew] Weissman 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.”
Continuing, the former Trump strategist says top administration officials could be encouraged to cooperate if Mueller’s team probes deeper into their financial records:
“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.”
Or, as Bannon also allegedly stated, “They’re going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV.” It seems this is why he views the Trump administration as “sitting on a beach trying to stop a Category Five.”
However, Trump was ready for Bannon’s comments, and the White House released a statement Wednesday calling the Breitbart chairman’s sanity into question:
“Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my presidency. When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind. Steve was a staffer who worked for me after I had already won the nomination by defeating seventeen candidates, often described as the most talented field ever assembled in the Republican party.”
Trump also contends that Bannon spent his time at the White House “leaking false information to the media to make himself seem far more important than he was” and that this is “the only thing he does well.”
The president says Bannon “was rarely in a one-on-one meeting with me and only pretends to have had influence to fool a few people with no access and no clue” to policy agendas.
Trump accuses Bannon of being someone “seeking to burn [the United States of America] all down,” unlike him and his followers, who the president says are “helping to finally take our country back and build it up.”
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