The old adage says that he who laughs last, laughs loudest. It’s difficult to characterize Steve Bannon as getting to laugh the loudest, as he recently lost everything he ever cared for as a result of his feud with his former close ally Donald Trump. But it turns out Bannon is definitely getting the last laugh, for whatever it may be worth, against Trump. How do we know? Because Bannon’s name just appeared in a subpoena.
Until recent events, the party line all along had been that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had no interest in Steve Bannon one way or the other. Mueller had never asked to interview Bannon, and there were obviously no publicly reported criminal proceedings taking place against Bannon. But after Bannon’s anti-Trump quotes were published in Michael Wolff’s book, and everything went wrong for him as a result, he ended up volunteering to speak with Mueller – and by all media accounts he spilled his guts.
Now it turns out that last month, Robert Mueller sent a subpoena to a Trump-Russia witness, demanding to know about every conversation that witness had ever had with ten major Trump-Russia figures. One of the ten names on the list, according to Axios and NBC News: Steve Bannon. This means that Mueller was targeting Bannon in some capacity after all. So Bannon did himself a huge favor, apparently unknowingly, when he volunteered to help Mueller out with the investigation.
So where does this leave Steve Bannon? That depends on the seriousness of his involvement in the scandal, of course, and whether it was criminal in nature. But one way or the other, we now know that Robert Mueller was targeting Bannon after all – Bannon will end up facing less punishment or perhaps no punishment as a result of having helped the prosecution. Bannon didn’t merely help send Donald Trump to prison; he may have saved himself in the process.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report