Yesterday I wrote about the scenario in which Steve Bannon may have already cut a deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. I wasn’t working with any specific insider information; I was simply laying out how such a deal would cause a whole lot of pieces to make sense. Then this morning, everything hit the fan with Bannon’s confession that the Trump-Russia scandal was “treasonous.” These two things fit together, but not in the way it might initially seem.
When I first saw Bannon’s remarks this morning, I initially assumed that I had to have been wrong. People who cut plea deals in criminal investigations don’t then turn around and blab about the investigation like this – not even in ways that are favorable to the investigation. There’s a reason we haven’t directly heard a peep from George Papadopoulos and Michael Flynn since they cut their deals; they’re not allowed to. But then I learned the context, and more importantly the timing, of Bannon’s remarks. It seems he may have cut a deal after all.
Bannon’s quotes are included in an upcoming book about the Trump campaign called “Fire and Fury” written by Michael Wolff. Quotes and details from this book have been leaking out piecemeal for several months. That means the book has essentially been finished for several months, which in turn means Bannon provided these quotes to Wolff at least several months ago. If Bannon has since cut a deal with Mueller, there would really be nothing that either of them could to do prevent Bannon’s already-given quotes from being used in the book.
So let’s not assume Steve Bannon hasn’t cut a deal just because of his “new” comments, which he in reality probably made in the summer or fall of last year. Sure, he knew they’d end up in the book eventually. This means that at the time, he had no expectation of having to cut a deal. But this would have been before Michael Flynn cut a deal and began implicating people. Bannon’s words make clear that he’s willing to sell out Trump to save himself. If Flynn has sold out Bannon, then Bannon probably has indeed already cut a deal of his own.
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Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report