So after telling Michael Wolff that the meeting between Trump Jr. and the Russians was “treasonous” and that it was likely Donald Trump knew about, then remaining silent for five days after The Fire and the Fury exploded on the scene, Steve Bannon issued the following statement:
Donald Trump Jr. is both a patriot and a good man. He has been relentless in his advocacy for his father and the agenda that has helped turn our country around.
My support is also unwavering for the president and his agenda — as I have shown daily in my national radio broadcasts, on the pages of Breitbart News and in speeches and appearances from Tokyo and Hong Kong to Arizona and Alabama. President Trump was the only candidate that could have taken on and defeated the Clinton apparatus. I am the only person to date to conduct a global effort to preach the message of Trump and Trumpism, and I remain ready to stand in the breach for this president’s efforts to make America great again.
My comments about the meeting with Russian nationals came from my life experiences as a Naval officer stationed aboard a destroyer whose main mission was to hunt Soviet submarines to my time at the Pentagon during the Reagan years, when our focus was the defeat of ‘the evil empire,’ and to making films about Reagan’s war against the Soviets and Hillary Clinton’s involvement in selling uranium to them.
My comments were aimed at Paul Manafort, a seasoned campaign professional with experience and knowledge of how the Russians operate. He should have known they are duplicitous, cunning and not our friends. To reiterate, those comments were not aimed at Don Jr.
Everything I have to say about the ridiculous nature of the Russian ‘collusion’ investigation I said on my ‘60 Minutes’ interview. There was no collusion and the investigation is a witch hunt.
Of course, that’s not what Bannon said. His statement to Wolff, which interestingly he does not deny making, was, as reported by the New York Times,
“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. They didn’t have any lawyers,” Mr. Bannon said after The Times revealed the meeting in July 2017, according to Mr. Wolff’s book.
“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 F.B.I. immediately,” Mr. Bannon continued, according to the book.
He also said that the chance that Donald Trump Jr. did not introduce the Russians to his father “is zero,” a supposition rather than an assertion but one that would contradict the president’s insistence that he knew nothing about the meeting at the time.
“The three senior guys.” Not just Manafort.
So basically Bannon tried to get out from under his bombshell statement not by denying he made it (maybe he knows it was recorded) but by lying about it.
Why? It’s been reported that Mercer pêre et fille, big financial supporters of Bannon’s Breitbart site, have cut their ties with Bannon as a result of the statement. The new statement, which I’m not sure what to call since it’s neither an apology nor a denial, may be nothing more than a desperate attempt to ingratiate himself with them. In so doing, Bannon managed to appear a craven liar worthy of the fictional Wormtongue.
I suppose it’s possible Bannon is playing a deeper game, throwing the already-indicted and perhaps mortally wounded Manafort to the wolves.
One wonders what future Bannon sees for himself. What benighted candidate, other than a hopelessly compromised creature like Roy Moore, would ever hire him? If he’s kicked out of Breitbart, who would finance another site?
If Bannon had not proven himself such a scurrilous character I might summon an ounce of pity. As it is, I find none in myself.
If hobbit archers were real, we would know Bannon’s end, but they’re not, so his future remains to be seen. Maybe Michael Wolff will write a book about him.