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The End Of The Trump-Bannon Bromance?

Donald Trump Steve Bannon

In the wake of a new tell-all book about the Trump campaign and the early days of the Trump White House in which former White House adviser Steve Bannon is quoted as making several disparaging remarks about top Trump advisers and criticizing Donald Trump Jr.’s decision to meet with a Russian lawyer with ties to the Russian government, President Trump fired back with a statement saying that his former adviser has ‘lost his mind’:

WASHINGTON — President Trump essentially excommunicated his onetime chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon on Wednesday, dismissing him as an aide who had “very little to do with our historic victory” and has now “lost his mind.”

In a written statement, Mr. Trump fired back at Mr. Bannon, who had made caustic comments about the president and his family to the author of a new tell-all book about the Trump White House. While Mr. Bannon had been pushed out of the White House last summer, he had remained in touch with Mr. Trump, but the two now appear to have reached a breaking point.

“Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency,” Mr. Trump said in the statement. “When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind.”

Mr. Trump berated Mr. Bannon for the loss of a Senate seat in Alabama and said the former adviser did not represent him but is “only in it for himself.”

“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 than he was,” Mr. Trump added. “It is the only thing he does well. Steve 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, whom he helped write phony books.”

Here’s the full statement:

The statement followed several articles detailing portions of a new book covering the Trump campaign and the early days of the Trump White House in which Bannon is quoted as making several disparaging remarks about Trump Jr. and others in the President’s inner circle:

Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon has described the Trump Tower meeting between the president’s son and a group of Russians during the 2016 election campaign as “treasonous” and “unpatriotic”, according to an explosive new book seen by the Guardian.

Bannon, speaking to author Michael Wolff, warned that the investigation into alleged collusion with the Kremlin will focus on money laundering and predicted: “They’re going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV.”

Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, reportedly based on more than 200 interviews with the president, his inner circle and players in and around the administration, is one of the most eagerly awaited political books of the year. In it, Wolff lifts the lid on a White House lurching from crisis to crisis amid internecine warfare, with even some of Trump’s closest allies expressing contempt for him.

Bannon, who was chief executive of the Trump campaign in its final three months, then White House chief strategist for seven months before returning to the rightwing Breitbart News, is a central figure in the nasty, cutthroat drama, quoted extensively, often in salty language.

He is particularly scathing about a June 2016 meeting involving Trump’s son Donald Jr, son-in-law Jared Kushner, then campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower in New York. A trusted intermediary had promised documents that would “incriminate” rival Hillary Clinton but instead of alerting the FBI to a potential assault on American democracy by a foreign power, Trump Jr replied in an email: “I love it.”

The meeting was revealed by the New York Times in July last year, prompting Trump Jr to say no consequential material was produced. Soon after, Wolff writes, Bannon remarked mockingly: “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.

“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 added: “You never see it, you never know it, because you don’t need to … But that’s the brain trust that they had.”

Bannon also speculated that Trump Jr had involved his father in the meeting. “The chance that Don Jr did not walk these jumos up to his father’s office on the twenty-sixth floor is zero.”

Bannon has criticised Trump’s decision to fire Comey. In Wolff’s book, obtained by the Guardian ahead of publication from a bookseller in New England, he suggests White House hopes for a quick end to the Mueller investigation are gravely misplaced.

“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.”

This isn’t the first sign of a break between Bannon and Trump, of course. In addition to the fact of his abrupt dismissal from the White House back in August, which came just days after reports that Bannon’s days were numbered, Bannon openly backed Roy Moore in the fight for the Republican nomination to replace Jeff Sessions in the White House while the President backed former Senator Luther Strange, who has since been replaced by Democrat Doug Jones as of today. Additionally, when he was dismissed in August, Bannon was quoted as saying that the Trump White House was “now a Democratic White House” and that the Trump Presidency was over. For the most part, though, Bannon reserved his fire for critics of the President such as Senators Jeff Flake, John McCain, and Bob Corker and there were several reports that the President continued to speak with his former adviser notwithstanding his dismissal from the White House. These latest statements, though, would seem to make clear that the break between Bannon and  Trump is far more permanent than seemed apparent in the wake of Bannon’s dismissal.

What this means going forward is unclear, but it could make for some interesting political developments over the coming year. For the most part, Bannon and the reporters at Breitbart News, where he returned after leaving the White House, have been supportive of the President If this is the beginning of a more serious split between Trump and Bannon and the forces that Bannon controls, that could have interesting implications for the future, including the upcoming primary battles in advance of the 2018 midterms. Potentially, we could be seeing the beginning of a year where Trump sides with the GOP “establishment” while Bannon takes on the role that the Tea Party has dominated in the past of backing insurgents that seem more intent on beating Republicans than winning elections in November. If so, then it could make the next ten months interesting to say the least. Get out the popcorn ladies and gentlemen, it’s going to be an interesting year.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Slugger says:

    Winners attract followers. Sinking ship don’t. Trump is in decline, and right now the Cleveland Browns have more fans.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  2. Mark Ivey says:

    “Bannon? He was just a coffee boy..”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  3. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Seriously…where are the adults in the Republican party that are going to get control of this dumpster fire? Remember…we still haven’t had a significant crisis under this administration. Yet they seem unable to handle day to day business. What happens when something serious happens? Does anyone really think Denture-Donnie can lead us thru it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  4. CSK says:

    What many people (including Trump himself) seem not to be fully grasping is that Bannon was speaking to Wolff while he was still working at the White House. He wasn’t an embittered ex-employee. He was actively sabotaging his boss to someone he knew was writing a book.

    So, Donald…tell us again about how you hire only the best people.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  5. Sleeping Dog says:

    Before Christmas Trump was/is sure that the Mueller investigation will go away and he’ll be exonerated. I’m wondering if Trump’s attorneys are telling him that his firewall is Don Jr and Javanka. Trump could be so sure that this trio won’t flip on him that when it happens… Gotta go out and get some more pop corn and a case of beer.

    Even if the trio doesn’t flip, they are so sloppy and rank amateurs that they will leave a trail right to Trumps door.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  6. Kathy says:

    In this civil war, the Democratic Party ought to remain neutral, and arm both opponents with highly destructive weapons.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  7. Teve tory says:

    Seriously…where are the adults in the Republican party that are going to get control of this dumpster fire?

    the leaders of the Republican Party are Fox News, Breitbart, Limbaugh, and a few others. When they decide hey you know what let’s stop making all this money with all this Sensational stuff and be dignified and analytical for a change

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  8. Mister Bluster says:

    More fake news from CNN.

    Trump dissolves voter fraud commission
    “Despite substantial evidence of voter fraud, many states have refused to provide the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity with basic information relevant to its inquiry,” the White House said in a statement. “Rather than engage in endless legal battles at taxpayer expense, today I signed an executive order to dissolve the commission, and have asked the Department of Homeland Security to review these issues and determine next courses of action.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  9. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    I guess the commission wasn’t producing the results Trump wanted.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  10. michael reynolds says:

    Steve Bannon has now validated everything I’ve said about Trump and the Russia scandal for two years. So yes, I am feeling pretty smug.

    But there remains a mystery. I will now play Chief Inspector Reynolds. The evidence:

    1) Baggy suits on a billionaire.
    2) Really, really long ties.
    3) Quotes from the new book that Trump refuses to allow staff to strip the sheets from his bed.
    4) Melania and Trump keep separate bedrooms.
    5) An accusation that while in Moscow Trump had some working girls pee on his bed.

    Here is my hypothesis: Trump is incontinent.

    Baggy suits to hide adult diapers. Really long ties to hide leaks, especially while seated. If you wet the bed you don’t want staff – at the White House which you don’t own – changing your sheets. And if you’re a bedwetter you don’t want anyone else in the room with you.

    Finally, the Moscow Rain Shower. Here’s my sub-hypothesis: Trump peed the bed, this fact reached his money-laundering pals, and Trump came up with a cute excuse: Heh, heh, I had some girls in and paid them to do it.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 0

  11. Hal_10000 says:

    Who would have imagined that turning your campaign over to race-baiting factually-challenged firebrand would backfire?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  12. CSK says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I’ve always wondered about the reason for those knee-length ties. You have answered my question.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  13. Modulo Myself says:

    Bannon is an idiot who managed to impress DC because he read a page of The Art of War. Who knows how true any of this book is? I guarantee you Trump doesn’t. But Trump knows, I think, that his con is about to be exposed. Bannon is bailing on Trump and talking about treason and Jared going to jail for posterity’s sake. Trump has no idea what posterity is, but he does know that everyone is trying to create, if possible, distance. That’s why he’s acting like such a bitch.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  14. Teve tory says:

    have asked the Department of Homeland Security to review these issues and determine next courses of action.”

    Additionally, and for no particular reason whatsoever, I have renamed the Department of Homeland Security the Waffen SS.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  15. Teve tory says:

    Really long ties to hide leaks, especially while seated

    Holy shit that explains those foot-too-long ties.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  16. Teve tory says:

    Michael Reynolds here’s another data point

    http://theweek.com/speedreads/598324/donald-trump-flies-back-new-york-every-night-sleep-bed

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  17. An Interested Party says:

    Somebody writing in the comments section of another blog came up with the perfect line for this mess…

    This is like the anus and rectum complaining about the proximity to stench…..

    It really can’t be stated much better than that…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  18. Kylopod says:

    @michael reynolds: Interesting! Still, I can’t help connecting in my mind the story of the pee tape with the comment Trump made in 2015 about Hillary taking a bathroom break during one of the debates: “I know where she went — it’s disgusting, I don’t want to talk about it… No, it’s too disgusting. Don’t say it, it’s disgusting.”

    Then there’s the comment he made about Megyn Kelly’s having “blood coming out of her wherever.”

    However you go about it, the man has a weird preoccupation with women’s bodily functions. A urine fetish would go with the territory.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  19. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Mark Ivey: Shouldn’t that be “covfefe boy?”

    Any information, he said, could then be “dump[ed] … down to Breitbart or something like that, or maybe some other more legitimate publication
    [emphasis added]

    Did Bannon just admit that he’s always known that he publishes bullshirt?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  20. michael reynolds says:

    We’re overlooking the real victims here. Divorce is always hardest on the children. Who will have custody of @MBunge?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

  21. HarvardLaw92 says:

    The takeaway from this:

    Bannon, for all of his foulness, did get one thing right:

    There should never, ever, be an instance where the senior leadership of a political campaign meets – in secret, on home turf, without lawyers present – with representatives of a foreign government. If they absolutely had to do something this stupid, it should have taken place, as he puts it, in a Holiday Inn in Manchester, NH and only the lawyers should have attended it.

    These people are amateurs. They made amateur mistakes, and now they get to enjoy the consequences of their own stupidity.

    That having been said, it seems that Baboon has lost the backing of Ms. Mercer and her equally odious father, so we’re possibly seeing the opening volley of a three way internecine war within the crazy wing of the Republican party.

    I’m convinced that Baboon did this deliberately in order to get the response he wanted & just got out of Trump.

    GOP chaos in an election year …

    Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu 😀

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  22. mike shupp says:

    @Teve tory:

    Bear in mind, Hilary Clinton also flew home each day on the campaign trail so she could sleep in her own bed , Also, she too is notorious for wearing baggy trousers, and she and Bill seem to sleep apart more often than not these days. And like Donald Trump, she is at an age where incontinence can be a problem. So if you’re going by the principles of PI Michael Reynolds in considering the one case, you might think about the other.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 15

  23. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @mike shupp:

    Why? She isn’t president. She isn’t anything but a private citizen. Why should we consider her in the context of that discussion at all beyond your desire to engage in whataboutism?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  24. mike shupp says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Hmmm. well. You might be right in chiding me for “whataboutism.”

    But … I’ve got in mind that picture of Hilary being “helped” up a set of steps by aides pulling on her arms. And accounts of Donald Trump tooling about the streets of Paris in a golf cart while younger and fitter European presidents and prime ministers walked ahead of him. I’ve in mind accounts that Hilary Clinton thought it would be simpler and convenient to have an email server in her basement where all the business and personal email she received each day could pile up together because she and her aides could always figure out what was what. And accounts that Donald Trump doesn’t always key in his own tweets but tells an aide what messages to send.

    Let me suggest –gently, since I’m 70 years old myself, with my own weaknesses — that BOTH our major presidential contenders in 2016 were too old, too frail, too set in their ways. too out-of-step with modern technology. What about that?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 4

  25. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @mike shupp:

    I’ll go along with that, in the sense that it was a relevant sentiment to consider during the election.

    Now that’s over with, and Trump is evaluated on his own unsuitability / failings / weaknesses. I generally regard comparisons of failed leaders as deflection. If the guy sucks – and G-d knows this clown sucks – it doesn’t matter how much anybody else sucks. They’re not in office. He is.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 0

  26. Pete S says:

    @HarvardLaw92: In principle you are right. But if you take away whataboutism then the right will have absolutely nothing to say. Which is fine, except petulant 3 year olds tend to start hitting when they can’t use their words.

    This is not a shot at mike shupp, I don’t know him. I do know that the only defenses I have heard for any accusations of Trump start with the words “Hilary Clinton” or “Barack Obama”. Quite often the defenses only consist of those two words.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  27. KM says:

    @mike shupp :

    The whole point with the baggy suits was that Trump makes a point that he considers himself high class, rich and an example of taste – Hillary doesn’t. Sure the rest of us gag but he really does think his tackiness is haute coutre. Micheal’s org point was that Trump’s been this way for a very long time and SOMEBODY would have said something. He lives in NYC and nobody’s tried to sell him a bespoke suit with flattery before? I’ve got a bridge to sell you if you think he’s made it all these years without some fashionista pointing out his terrible clothes and Trump not having a fit over it. Still, the suits and ties continue – there has to be a reason and this is very plausible.

    If so, he’s been incontinent for decades and there’s like a biological reason other then age causing it. The man’s been living a unhealthy lifestyle for 3+ decades – it’s bound to catch up to you. Listen, incontinence in and of itself isn’t really a problem as it can be managed. The older generation just gets embarrassed at having to wear “diapers” again instead of viewing them as necessary medical aids. As in all things, it’s the coverup that gets you. Plenty of older folks were Depends and you’ll never know – if this is indeed Trump’s concern, all he’s doing it drawing attention to a problem he wants ignored.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  28. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @mike shupp:

    Let me suggest –gently, since I’m 70 years old myself, with my own weaknesses — that BOTH our major presidential contenders in 2016 were too old, too frail, too set in their ways. too out-of-step with modern technology. What about that?

    You are full of shit…how about that.
    Clinton was sick. Very ill. We have all been ill and felt weak.
    The worst kept secret in the country is that Trump is patently unfit to hold the office. The people closest to him call him an idiot. His Director of the NSA was working as a Foreigner Agent and has plead guilty to lying to the FBI. His campaign director and chief strategist in the White House has accused him and his top campaign staff of treason. The man lies more than any other politician ever.
    The biggest question in my mind is when are republicans going to put country before party and get rid of this buffoon before he does something that we will all regret.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  29. grumpy realist says:

    @KM: Hah. Barack Obama has more class in his little toe than Trump has in his entire gold-plated, tacky “kingdom”.

    Whenever I see any photos of Trump-decorated locations, the only words that come to mind are “tacky tacky tacky.” Paintings of Elvis on black velvet would be more sincere.

    (Incidentally, if anyone wants several hours of amusement, look up what the Victorians came up with as silver serving utensils and try–without peeking–to guess what they were used for. Would you believe they came up with a specific instrument to serve fried oysters?)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  30. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    A new excerpt from the Wolff book is out this morning:

    In the second excerpt published from Michael Wolff’s new book, the journalist paints a portrait of a President Trump who is increasingly repeating stories, cannot recognize old friends, and is viewed by his closest allies as “incapable of functioning in his job.” The bombshell book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, describes a scene where, at Mar-a-Lago, just before the new year, “a heavily made-up Trump failed to recognize a succession of old friends.” Wolff writes, “It used to be inside of 30 minutes he’d repeat, word-for-word and expression-for-expression, the same three stories—now it was within 10 minutes.” He added, “Indeed, many of his tweets were the product of his repetitions—he just couldn’t stop saying something.” Trump and former top strategist Steve Bannon traded public barbs Wednesday over the newly released contents of the book. Bannon, in his first comments since the excerpts were revealed, didn’t dispute the accuracy of his attributions in the book.

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/wolff-book-trump-is-incapable-of-functioning-in-his-job-cant-recognize-pals-incapable-of-functioning?ref=home

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  31. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @KM:

    The man’s been living a unhealthy lifestyle for 3+ decades – it’s bound to catch up to you.

    He’s supposed to undergo a physical at Walter Reed on the 12th. I’ll bet it doesn’t happen.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  32. MarkedMan says:

    The Bannon cease-and- desist letter is just another reason I am praying that the Dems get control of at least one house. I’m assuming that a congressional investigation would have the authority to override any such NDA. What say our resident lawyers?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  33. Kathy says:

    OMG, Trump wants to sue Wolff!

    Damn, I really hope he does.First it will bring out stuff that didn’t make the book into the public record. Second, it will prompt people who didn’t speak to Wolff to go on the record as well. Third, Trump himself will undergo depositions; guess what a mean, narcissistic, habitual liar will do to himself under oath.

    He wants to sue Bannon as well.Lawyers already threatened him with a cease and desist letter. That should be deeply entertaining.

    Good thing for the GOP trump defeated Clinton and avoided a GOP civil war. This circular firing squad should prove far bloodier.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  34. Not the IT Dept. says:

    re Mike’s theory.

    I’ll go along with it but would like to point out one thing: my partner has spent a lifetime in the retail clothing industry and she says that it’s quite common for plus-size (the new word for chubby) customers to believe that loose, baggy clothing hides the fat better than a tighter fit. It’s not true, but you’ll never get many customers to believe it, even if you get them to try both fits on in front of a three-part mirror. The point is, I guess, that they know where the bulges are and if they’re invisible, then no one else can see them either.

    Kind of sad, really.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  35. SenyorDave says:

    Ladies and gentlemen I give you our president of the United States:

    A passage of author Michael Wolff’s Washington tell-all, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” describes how Trump would devise calculated plots to get the wives of his friends into bed, using jealousy and revenge as bait.
    “In pursuing a friend’s wife, he would try to persuade the wife that her husband was perhaps not what she thought,” reads the passage, a copy of which was obtained by the Daily News.
    Trump would then have his secretary ask the husband to stop by his office. Once the husband got in, Trump would subject him to “constant sexual banter” — all while having the wife listen in on the conversation via speakerphone.
    “Do you still like having sex with your wife? How often? You must have had a better f–k than your wife?” Trump would apparently ask friends. “Tell me about it. I have girls coming in from Los Angeles at three o’clock. We can go upstairs and have a great time. I promise.”

    I think Michael Reynolds once described Trump as an amoral pig (I used that a couple of times because it was such a short and brutally accurate description of the man). It turns amoral pig might be the understatement of the year. In his wildest dream, Trump could only aspire to be an amoral pig. He is a complete degenerate, and if he wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth seems like he could have been a serial killer, although he probably isn’t smart enough.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  36. KM says:

    @grumpy realist :

    Paintings of Elvis on black velvet would be more sincere.

    Yep. So all this begs the question – who the hell is dressing this man? There are people’s who sole job in this life is to make sure you don’t look like a hood made good and the White House has always employed people designated to polish the President’s visual image. Hell, a good tailor can work miracles – if Depends really are in play, they’ll make sure those lines are still immaculate and pants fit properly while accommodating for other garments. There’s really no excuse for him.

    Furthermore, wearing designer labels is de rigueur for the world Trump came from – businessmen who broker deals like that *don’t* look like Donald if they can avoid it. Where’s the assistants, asskissers and friends who let him go out like that for years? There’s no goddamn way nobody’s slipped him a card or causally mentioned a shop where they get their stuff done. Even if nobody’s stepping up from the fashion world to have him wear their clothes, Melania’s supposed to be a model and she lets her husband step out like that? She doesn’t know anybody that can help or who owes her one?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  37. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I’m assuming that a congressional investigation would have the authority to override any such NDA. What say our resident lawyers?

    I’m no attorney…but there cannot be an NDA for White House/Government employees. There can be NDA agreements as they relate to classified information…but not about how Trump manages his comb-over. (my favorite part of the Wolff book is Ivanka busting on her fathers ridiculous hair…a national embarrassment)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  38. JohnMcC says:

    @michael reynolds: Possibly one of the most effective PR devices possible. My prediction (ahem….since you noted your own prescience) is that Mr Trump is going to become a figure of ridicule within a few months. Could you imagine costumed Trump impersonators wearing Depends outside their baggy pants at every Republican event? Better than anything Roger Stone ever did.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  39. CSK says:

    @Not the IT Dept.:

    Trump is obese and flabby. He probably does think an ill-fitting suit hides the blubber. If you look at photos of him taken in his younger, fitter days, he was better tailored.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  40. michael reynolds says:

    Let me make clear: I’m 63, I’m not blind, not deaf, not given to delusions, so it has occurred to me that there’s an excellent chance I’ll be walking out of Costco with the big boxes of adult nappies soon enough. It’s possible, I suppose, that time will reverse and spare me the indignities of age, but I’m not betting on it.

    Occasionally someone will tweak me over being bald. It never works, because I don’t care. (In fact I prefer it.) It’s amazing how effective simple honesty and a healthy ego can be at drawing the sting of ridicule.

    People make themselves ridiculous, it can’t be imposed on you, you have to co-operate in your own humiliation. If we found out that Joe Biden had a bit of a leakage issue Joe would make a self-deprecating joke, we’d laugh sympathetically, and we’d move on. But Trump can’t take a joke – any joke. He’s brittle and insecure, a vain, pompous, narcissist. He can’t take it. Trump is weak. He is a small, weak man who insists on trying to pass himself off as something he manifestly is not. That falseness and weakness creates vulnerability, and vulnerability tends to get exploited.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  41. al-Ameda says:

    @Kylopod:

    Then there’s the comment he made about Megyn Kelly’s having “blood coming out of her wherever.”
    However you go about it, the man has a weird preoccupation with women’s bodily functions. A urine fetish would go with the territory.

    Aoo of this is just … just … fabulous.
    Remember General Jack Ripper in the (I think, classic) movie Dr. Strangelove?

    “They have neither the time, the training, nor the inclination for strategic thought. I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

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  42. SC_Birdflyte says:

    In the words of an old proverb: “When the pot boils, the scum comes to the surface.”

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  43. grumpy realist says:

    President Trump’s insistence that Steve Bannon, his former chief strategist and a top aide at the White House until five months ago, was a mere “staffer” who had “very little to do with our historic victory” is akin to Joseph Stalin trying to erase Leon Trotsky from the history of the Russian Revolution

    Ouch. (from the WP)

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  44. CSK says:

    @grumpy realist:

    And, of course, Bannon has compared himself to Lenin.

    Serious question: Is Bannon ill with something incurable? Is he trying to go out in a blaze of…glory, for lack of a better word? Both Mercers have abandoned him. He’s hated at Breitbart. What’s left for him?

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  45. teve tory says:

    @HarvardLaw92: plus Hillary wore that white pantsuit too much to have been worried about incontinence.

    As a scientist friend of mine said, the case for trump being incontinent is Overdetermined. There’s way more evidence for the hypothesis than you need.

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  46. grumpy realist says:

    I’m also wondering about the horse sense of a passel of lawyers who try to put out a cease-and-apologize letter on a publisher of a book where the author of said book was INVITED into the WH to hang around and listen to all the conversations….(and who claims that he’s got it all on tape, anyway.)

    Are these people totally clueless? Or do they realize exactly how silly they’re acting and simply trying to milk as much money out of Trump as possible?

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  47. michael reynolds says:

    @CSK:
    Bannon is a rage-fueled drunk with an absurd notion of his own brilliance – he’s only smart by contrast with the clown college of the Trump regime. He lives in reality, though, which inevitably leads to contempt for the Trumpaloons, contempt even for his Pepé brothers.

    Relatively clever, in touch with actual reality, surrounded by morons, at some level Bannon can’t help but be self-loathing. These confessions to Wolff are Bannon’s effort to draw a line between himself and those he sees as lesser. He wants us to know he’s not as dumb as the cultists. Why? Because his ‘populism’ is bullsh!t, he’s a snob, and just like Trump is desperate to be accepted by high society, Bannon wants to be seen as a deep thinker.

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  48. CSK says:

    @grumpy realist:

    The depositions should be a laff riot.

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  49. CSK says:

    @michael reynolds:

    The fact that Bannon casually denigrated Breitbart.com–which he chairs–as a less-than-legit news organ would seem to support the diagnosis of self-loathing. He’s trashed his biggest platform.

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  50. grumpy realist says:

    @CSK: Something we should nickname The Samson Syndrome. I.e., the psychological willingness to totally trash your own future by insulting all your supporters and pulling the house down on yourself.

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  51. gVOR08 says:

    Biggest takeaway – Wolff describes the entire campaign as sure they would lose. And they were happy, as they all, including Trump, knew Trump was unqualified and they could all parlay a six point loss into some sort of grift. They weren’t running any brilliant 11 dimensional Electoral College strategy, they expected to lose. And yet they won. By turning a few close states. How? This smells more and more like Mercer was running a really good big data op, not necessarily all shared with the campaign. But Cambridge Analytica had no operational capability Except as provided by Russians.

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  52. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Congress can’t invalidate an NDA in and of itself. Only a court can do that. It would play as Congress issues subpoena, respondent refuses, Congress cites for contempt. Decision to pursue further / press a court to pierce the NDA falls to the USA for the District.

    Which wouldn’t happen.

    That having been said, an NDA on face is meaningless. Enforcing them requires bringing the matter before a court in a civil action – which opens up the problem of discovery for the petitioner.

    Trump is bluffing, and Bannon knows it. He’s odious, but he’s not stupid. Expect him to call the bluff.

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  53. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: I think it’s a mistake to try to see any kind of tactics or strategy in Bannon talking to Wolf. Bannon, Trump, Nunes, all these guys are knife-fighters. They live in the moment. You have absolutely not control over when a book writer publishes what you tell him. It could be in a week. It could be in a year. That is not someone you use if you want to send out a message. You talk to a daily reporter who has to publish and then move on to the next thing.

    I would say Reynolds is right about him being a rage alcoholic, except that Bannon insists he hasn’t had a drink since 1998. Of course he could be lying (this is Bannon for chrissakes) but it’s hard to believe he could be a secret day drunk for years and, given his countless enemies, no one ever called him on it. I would go with some kind of perscription drug abuse, but I’m not familiar enough with self medication to know what would sustainably give him a multi decade rage binge if we rule out alcohol. Cocaine would have surely caused a collapse or killed him by now.

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  54. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @CSK:

    In all the time that I’ve known him, he has always worn (IMO) cheap, badly fitting suits. It’s his way of trying to say that he’s too important / busy to worry about what he wears.

    Henry Kravis is well known for being rumpled / less than well dressed most of the time as well. Difference: Henry can pull it off. Trump can’t.

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  55. michael reynolds says:

    @CSK:
    I wonder what the timeline is on that remark about Breitbart. After he’d left but before he realized he had nowhere else to go?

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  56. CSK says:

    @michael reynolds:

    if you believe Drudge, Bannon’s acquired a new billionaire, Miles Kwok (Google him), to
    subsidize his presidential run in 2020.

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I read somewhere he wears Brioni. Maybe Brioni for Walmart.

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  57. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @CSK:

    I have my doubts that Brioni would allow such a poorly fitted garment to leave the shops. Off the rack, maybe, but I suspect he’s just lying about who supplies his suits. (Disclosure: I’m not a fan of Brioni – don’t like the line of their cut. I buy my suits from from Henry Poole, but I can’t imagine Brioni would allow a clown suit like those he wears to be delivered.)

    Ridiculously wide pant legs, sleeves too long, baggy fit in the coat, fabrics far too light for his build and carriage. It’s like somebody set out to make himself look like a joke. He’s living proof that money can’t buy taste. Nobody ever taught him what a properly fitted suit should look like, and it shows.

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  58. MarkedMan says:

    @HarvardLaw92: FWIW, when Trump really started to gain traction I googled something like “What’s up with Trump’s suits?” and got a lot of hits. The one that made the most sense to me was from a tailor who speculated that the suits were something like Brioni, but for the off-the-rack line. He explained that those are meant to be extensively fitted to the individual, but the tailor guessed he had the trousers hemmed and that was all. Makes sense to me, but then again, I thought a Brioni was an Italian baked desert.

    I think back to the Doonesbury series about Trump in the 80’s or 90’s which had a running joke about how Donald couldn’t even comprehend the idea that “Quality” wasn’t a synonym for “Cost a lot of money’.

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  59. Mikey says:

    Trump wears ill-fitting suits because he believes it hides the fact he looks like 250 pounds of chewed bubble gum, and his too-long ties are meant to suggest something the shortness of his fingers tells us must be false.

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  60. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @KM: I don’t think guys like Trump take “advice.” The senior management/owner class guys that I’ve known were certainly averse to it.

    Additionally, wasn’t there a Donald Trump business fashion line a few years ago based on his “taste in clothes?”

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  61. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @CSK: I’m more inclined to think they’ll be kinda boring:

    Lawyer: Mr. Trump…
    Trump’s lawyer: Don’t answer that!

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  62. Blue Galangal says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: Not only that, but a Yale psychiatrist is briefing members of Congress on Trump’s mental fitness, including one GOP senator.

    Yale psychiatrist briefed members of Congress on Trump’s mental fitness

    But Hillary had the flu. It’s exactly the same thing.

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  63. mike shupp says:

    @KM:

    Interesting notions. My take has been a bit different — it’s been my thought that Trump wears lousy suits precisely because they are conspicuous. It’s as if he’s shouting, “You’re all lower or middle class losers, in tee shirts and jeans.. I’m the rich man here! Look at me! I wear A SUIT!”

    But it’s just my guess. James Bond wore suits also, and Bond and Trump are of an age.

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  64. mike shupp says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    Let’s see … I state an opinion that neither Hilary Clinton nor Donald Trump would be very good presidents, being old and frail and set in their ways and not very adaptable. And you’re telling me I’m “full of shit” because …. Donald Trump has not been a very good president?

    A-huh.

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  65. mike shupp says:

    @Pete S:

    Hilary Clinton! Oh yeah. I voted for her in the 2016 election, and I don’t regret it. She’s not my favorite politician but I could have lived with her in the White House.

    Questions?

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  66. KM says:

    @mike shupp :

    being old and frail

    Except… she’s not. She younger then both Trump and Sanders by several years and in must better health. Other then that instance of being ill they harped about, what frailness can you point to that’s not being assumed as inherent to age? Trump’s camp played on social bias – women can’t be seen as weak, frail or vulenerable in any way while in power.

    Here’s a nice little article that sums it all up using a very presicent Doctor Who quote:

    “I could bring down your government with a single word,” he tells Jones. “You’re the most remarkable man I’ve ever met, but I don’t think you’re quite capable of that,” she replies. “No, you’re right — not a single word,” the Doctor says. “Just six.” He walks over to an aide and whispers in his ear, “Don’t you think she looks tired?” The episode ends with Jones being questioned about her health before losing a vote of no confidence.

    People listened to the doesn’t-walk-if-he-can-help-it, only-has-energy-when-being-hateful, ragingly-bad-diet-scarfing, has-a-family-history-of-preventable-diseases-he’s-doing-nothing-to-avoid, constantly-unnatural-skin-and-hair-colored overly obese elderly man that the younger, healthier, more physical active woman is the sickly one. Nice con if you can pull it off.

    The Founders put an age limit on the Presidency since it was supposed to be a statesmen and executive position, not Leader of the Free World. They wanted the wisdom of age instead of the flightiness of youth…. but also kinda expected nature would take its course and 70+ yr olds wouldn’t be running the joint. If they could have foreseen leaders with dementia in charge of weapons that could end the world, you bet your ass there’s be more requirements on health and an upper age limit.

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  67. Kylopod says:

    @KM:

    They wanted the wisdom of age instead of the flightiness of youth… but also kinda expected nature would take its course and 70+ yr olds wouldn’t be running the joint.

    I’ve had a theory for a while that William Henry Harrison scared off the nation from electing old guys for a long time. At 67, he was the oldest man elected president for nearly the next century and a half. And he died of pneumonia a month into taking office. The country didn’t elect anyone that old again until Reagan. Since Reagan, however, it seems like the Republicans became more relaxed about nominating men in or near their 70s: you had Bob Dole, then John McCain, then Donald Trump.

    Of course, in the past two centuries the average lifespan has increased dramatically and medical science is far advanced over what it was when the Constitution was ratified. The idea of a centenarian running the country probably strikes us as just a tad less alarming than it did to people in 1789.

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  68. Mikey says:

    Rick Wilson’s latest for the Daily Beast is a must-read. An excerpt:

    One of the most cringeworthy aspects of the Trump era is the mental and moral gymnastics required of conservatives to Trump-splain every new feud, screw-up, and absurdity. By Thursday afternoon, many were slamming Bannon as an apostate to the Trump faith. Matt Drudge, the wellspring of the right’s media ecosystem, has gone into full-throttle hate mode, running headline after headline slamming Bannon. Rush Limbaugh and his lesser imitators joined in the Bannon-bashing and even professional lunatic Alex Jones had the knives out for his former ally.

    Some in the Trump-right were pretending that this titanic rupture in Trumpworld was a devious plan to distract from his masterful handling of Iran and North Korea. Let me disabuse the Trump readers in our audience (a small subset, I know) of this fantasy. No, this isn’t the president playing some form of quantum chess with rules so complex and subtle that it would take a team of physicists and string theorists decades to understand. Trump is a furious, shallow, weak man reacting in a spasm of self-indulgent fury to excerpts from a book repeating the taped, verbatim views of some of his most senior aides.

    Nice.

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  69. KM says:

    @Mikey:

    Bannon’s gotta be pissed too. MAGA was his baby and now they’re all out stabbing him in the back to support the guy *he* made happen. At what point does he decide to say f^ck it and go talk to Mueller? At what point does he go full throttle and burn it all down like he wants? When does the ego snap and Sun Tzu go out the window in favor of some Shermanesque salt and burn?

    This man’s not going quietly into the night. Make no mistake: Bannon’s got true dirt. He was in the room when things went down. They are desperately trying to discredit him to Trumpkins but Bannon’s going to peel away just enough to seriously hurt the GOP’s elections this year. Breitbart’s turned but the comments show some deep division on who really represents MAGA: the guy pushing it or the guy typifying it.

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  70. Mikey says:

    @KM:

    At what point does he decide to say f^ck it and go talk to Mueller?

    How do we know he hasn’t already? Mueller had Papadopolous for months before the public found out. Bannon could have met Mueller’s investigators (in a hotel in Manchester, haha) weeks ago.

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  71. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @KM: “She younger then both Trump and Sanders by several years and in must better health.”

    Hillary Clinton–Born: October 26, 1947 (age 70), Chicago, Illinois, U.S.

    Donald Trump–Born: June 14, 1946 (age 71), Queens, New York City, NY

    Bernie Sanders–Born: September 8, 1941 (age 76), New York City

    Well, half right…

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