At this point anything Steve Bannon says must be filtered through the fact that he’s fading from relevance and he’s increasingly desperate to get it back – but a confession is a confession. Bannon just confessed to the entire Trump-Russia conspiracy, or at least all the parts of it that didn’t involve him. He’s even going so far as to call it “treasonous.” So why is he choosing now to confess that his former colleagues committed treason?
First, let’s take a look at the context of Bannon’s confession: “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.” He gave this quote to Michael Wolff, who is writing a book about the Trump campaign. Although his words are surfacing today, the book hasn’t been published yet. This means Bannon must have made the confession quite awhile ago (before the book was finished), and he would have had no idea when his words would eventually surface. So scratch the notion that this is some sudden panic move on Bannon’s part, or that it’s an attempt at revenge after Trump and Bannon recently had a falling out over the Alabama election.
Instead, this is Steve Bannon straight up confessing in advance, knowing it would take months for his words to get out there, and knowing his words would definitely get out there eventually. Why? Consider what all he knows. He saw the Trump-Russia scandal up close. He’s savvy enough to know that investigators were going to bust it open eventually. He also surely understands that with so many other campaign leaders being arrested, his time is coming as well.
This can’t have been a mere publicity stunt by Steve Bannon, because he would have had no idea when it would eventually become public, or what might be going on with his career ambitions once it did. Instead this reads like a long term strategy by Steve Bannon to position himself on the right side of the law right around the time he was expecting the Trump-Russia scandal to get ugly for everyone who participated in it. It’s also a strong signal to Robert Mueller that he’s willing if not eager to cut a deal – and it’s a safe bet that Bannon has also sent that message to Mueller in more reliable, more private ways.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report