The last time Steve Bannon tried to tell Donald Trump it was “time to go to the mattresses” if he wanted to save his presidency, Trump didn’t listen to his consigliere, but rather to his son in law and fired James Comey. Currently, Bannon is not in the least bit happy with how Trump’s lawyers are handling Trump Russia, or much of anything else, for that matter, so he’s taking an “if you want a job done, do it yourself” attitude and rolling up his sleeves in preparation for stopping Robert Mueller’s investigation, on this Black Monday in the Trump regime. Daily Beast:
“In terms of Steve’s thinking of how the president is handling this, yeah, he thinks the legal team was not prepared for what happened today—they’re not serving the president well,” a source close to Bannon said.
Added another confidant: Bannon believes Ty Cobb and John Dowd, the top two attorneys on the president’s legal team, “are asleep at the wheel.”
Cobb and Dowd have publicly feuded over White House legal strategy after joining the president’s team, arguing in particular over the degree to which that team should cooperate with Mueller’s investigation. They’ve been overheard doing so at a steakhouse in D.C., while Cobb has been fooled by an email prankster and has angrily lashed out at reporters.
Trump and Bannon still talk a lot on the phone. Trump is contemplating firing Mueller. Bannon, however, is “advocating a much more aggressive legal approach short of firing Mueller,” we are told — and just what might that be?
One potential avenue is legislation crafted by Rep. Ron DeSantis, a Florida Republican and member of the House Freedom Caucus, an influential bloc of conservative lawmakers. DeSantis offered an amendment to a House spending package in August that would have barred Mueller from pursuing criminal charges for any conduct occurring before March 2015. That would have severely complicated Mueller’s indictments of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, which rely in large part on alleged criminal conduct prior to the 2016 presidential campaign, when the two lobbied on behalf of a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine.
DeSantis’s amendment would also have given Mueller six months to wrap up his investigation before the special counsel’s office was completely defunded.
If Bannon wants to limit the course and scope of Mueller’s investigation he is going to have to have some support from the GOP and this is as good a time as any to remind everyone that Mueller is a Republican, appointed by a Republican, heretofore respected by other Republicans (and still respected by most of them), and not some stooge of the Democratic party as Fox News is characterizing him as. Ironically, even Bannon has praised Mueller and his team as “serious guys,” on the one hand, while wanting to stop them on the other.
Bottom line, Steve Bannon knows which side his bread is buttered on, and the longer he can keep Trump in office the more he can erode the infrastructure of our government and lay groundwork for more right wing extremist candidates to gain office. Bannon is a survivor and going after Mueller is a ploy to insure that survival. Unfortunately, in a Bannon v. Mueller contest Bannon is going to be outclassed. One thing to be said about Bannon — he knows when to hold ‘em knows when to fold ‘em as he demonstrated his last couple of weeks at the White House when it became obvious that he wouldn’t last in the new Kelly regime. Bannon will survive, but not at the plateau he would wish. Just how many pegs he gets knocked down will depend upon a lot of factors, and right now the biggest factor is how long can this ticky tacky balsa wood house hold up as the tornado that is Trump Russia approaches it? Watching Steve Bannon attempt to buttress and refurbish an edifice that is, in fact, rotten from the foundation up and ready to collapse will be an interesting study, at the very least.