As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Tag Archives: Stephen Bannon

Bannon Cooks Up a Plan to Save Trump

According to the Washington Post:

Stephen K. Bannon, who was ousted as White House chief strategist last summer but has remained in touch with some members of President Trump’s circle, is pitching a plan to West Wing aides and congressional allies to cripple the federal probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to four people familiar with the discussions.

The first step, these people say, would be for Trump to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who oversees the work of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and in recent days signed off on a search warrant of Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen.

Bannon is also recommending the White House cease its cooperation with Mueller, reversing the policy of Trump’s legal team to provide information to the special counsel’s team and to allow staff members to sit for interviews.

And he is telling associates inside and outside the administration that the president should create a new legal battleground to protect himself from the investigation by asserting executive privilege — and arguing that Mueller’s interviews with White House officials over the past year should now be null and void.

One thing this means is that Bannon must think things are pretty bad if it’s time to go into stonewall mode. This comports with Bannon’s fighting instincts, but he also brings strong powers of analysis to bear that don’t always involve confrontation. Remember, he was the one who counseled against firing former FBI Director James Comey, which helped make matters much worse for Trump.

I can’t say what the best strategy is here, I’m not an attorney, and frankly, neither is Bannon. But I will say, generally speaking, that Trump needs to do what Clinton did when his presidency was threatened: Shut up about this whole affair, hire a great team of lawyers, have aides and attorneys dedicated to this effort who speak on TV and talk privately to the press, and get a bunch of people outside the White House to spin for you on TV.

I was there covering Clinton during that time, and it was very effective. Apparently, Bannon advocated for such an approach when he was at the White House, at least according to the Michael Wolff book.

Firing Rosenstein is going to feel great for Trump. I think at this point, just for the sake of his mental well being, Trump needs to fire someone.

And it seems to me that allowing the police to seize all the records of the president’s attorney, which is what Rosenstein did, should have been a pretty high bar. Attorneys, especially government attorneys, are by their nature stuck in the weeds of the law. They do things “by the book” without thinking about broader ramifications.

The problem here is that firing Rosenstein will start to alienate Republicans and bring back memories of Nixon, who also fired Justice Department officials. So I don’t know whether it is a useful thing at this point. But Bannon is offering strong tactics for a situation that, apparently, now requires them, and Trump and his team ought to give him a listen.

Effort to Get Rid of McConnell Intensifies

A group of leading conservatives today sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell demanding that he resign.

The letter is signed by Senate Conservatives Fund President Ken Cuccinelli, Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin, FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon, Richard A. Viguerie, and Brent Bozell. It was dispatched as former Trump White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon pledges to back primary challenges to nearly every Republican senator running for reelection in 2018.

The letter lists a litany of McConnell’s sins, highlighting the failure to pass Obamacare:

You and the rest of your leadership team were given the majority because you pledged to stop the steady flow of illegal immigration. You’ve done nothing. You pledged to reduce the size of this oppressive federal government. You have done nothing. You pledged to reduce, and ultimately eliminate the out-of-control deficit spending that is bankrupting America. You have done nothing. You promised to repeal Obamacare, “root and branch.” You’ve done nothing. You promised tax reform. You’ve done nothing.

You don’t even show up for work.

While your attacks on those within the Republican Party who were attempting to keep the GOP’s promises in the era of President Obama are now legendary, your current failure to deliver on the highest priority commitments to the American people is nothing short of shocking.

Perhaps the greatest betrayal – and that is what it is – is your failure to repeal Obamacare, the single most devastating piece of legislation against freedom ever crafted. Every single Republican in federal office today is there because of the pledge to end this horror.

Establishment Republicans are aghast and the liberal MSM is dumbfounded that conservatives are risking the Senate majority by stirring up so much trouble. But conservatives are not in favor of a Republican majority that simply means business as usual until the Democrats eventually take power again anyway.

The letter is notably kinder to House Speaker Paul Ryan.

As Speaker Ryan recently noted, the House is passing bills – including items central to your campaign promises – and not only do they languish in the Senate, but you and your leadership team publicly declare some of them dead on arrival.

Ryan at least was able to assemble a coalition to approve some kind of Obamacare repeal. But Ryan is not beloved by populist conservatives and could easily become a target himself. But McConnell at this point is not far behind Nancy Pelosi in the antipathy he creates among many conservatives.

John Bolton No Longer Permitted to Talk to Trump

Influential conservative foreign policy expert and former UN Ambassador John Bolton is no longer allowed to talk to President Trump, Bolton revealed in a piece for the National Review Tuesday. Bolton is often at odds with the establishment, which now seems to be running the Trump administration, which was elected, as you may remember, to tear down the establishment.

Clearly, not only is polite opinion ascendant in the White House, but it is not permitting other opinions to get to the president. Opinions such as withdrawing from the Iran deal, which Democrats and moderate Republicans consider a radical idea, even though the deal permits Iran to obtain nuclear weapons.

From Bolton’s article:

Defining a compelling rationale to exit Obama’s failed nuclear deal and elaborating a game plan to do so are quite easy.

In fact, Steve Bannon asked me in late July to draw up just such a game plan for the president — the option he didn’t have — which I did. Here it is. It is only five pages long, but like instant coffee, it can be readily expanded to a comprehensive, hundred-page playbook if the administration were to decide to leave the Iran agreement.

I offer the Iran nonpaper now as a public service, since staff changes at the White House have made presenting it to President Trump impossible. Although he was once kind enough to tell me “come in and see me anytime,” those days are now over.

Bannon, of course, is out of the White House. Apparently, Trump’s advisors are hoping not just to clean out his office, but to scrub out any molecule of evidence that he was ever there.

Koffler Writing Bannon Bio and WHD Will Not Publish This Week

I am currently working on a biography of Steve Bannon. To finish it, I’m going to stop publishing White House Dossier this week. Sorry for the inconvenience. I will be returning soon, thank you for your patience.

The Bannon book is already available for sale on Amazon. Purchase your pre-order copy here. Or click on this:

I’m going to keep this message at the top of the page while I’m away and post Trump’s schedule below it each day.