If you’ve spent all year waiting for Donald Trump’s Russia scandal to circle around to his former puppet master Steve Bannon, the wait is over. Bannon was placed on the hook this week by Trump-Russia investigators in Congress, which based on the existing pattern, all but confirms that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is already knee deep investigating Bannon’s role. Now that Bannon is going down, he very much appears to be trying to take Trump down with him.
The House Intelligence Committee formally asked Steve Bannon this week to come in and testify about the Trump-Russia scandal after the holidays, according to a Bloomberg report (link). This is by far the least legitimate of the various committees investigating the scandal, but it’s a start – and again, it’s a sign that the real probe – the one run by Mueller – has likely been targeting Bannon for months. Bannon is already lashing out, not at investigators, but at Trump.
Bannon will be probed for his role in everything from Cambridge Analytica’s involvement with Russian-controlled cyberterrorist group WikiLeaks, to Michael Flynn’s involvement with Russia, to the Trump White House attempt at covering up Flynn’s crimes. While we’re just learning today that Bannon is being brought in for questioning, he was notified of this earlier in the week. That means he knew all about it when he decided to make sure everyone knows that Donald Trump is an accused child rapist.
That’s right, Steve Bannon reached out to Vanity Fair (link) to make sure its anti-Trump audience is aware of an underreported storyline. During the election a woman sued Trump, claiming that he raped her when she was thirteen years old. The suit was dropped, and there was never any criminal prosecution, so the media largely avoided the story. But now Bannon wants to make sure Trump’s detractors are well aware of it. Why? It can only be seen as a warning shot at Trump. Is Bannon angling for a pardon? Who knows. But Bannon is signaling that if he’s going down, he’s taking Trump down with him, because he knows all of Trump’s secrets.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report