Last month we all witnessed a bizarre series of events involving Steve Bannon, the House Intelligence Committee, the White House, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller. It left us with only two possible conclusions: either Bannon was doing Trump’s bidding behind the scenes, or Bannon was doing Mueller’s bidding behind the scenes. Tonight it looks like we’ve gotten our answer.
Even as Mueller was preparing to bring Bannon in to testify about the Trump-Russia scandal, the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee suddenly wanted to get to Bannon first. Of course that committee is severely compromised by Donald Trump and his stooge Devin Nunes, so this seemed to be a sign that Bannon had cut a deal with Mueller, and that Trump was trying to use the committee to find out what Bannon was about to tell Mueller. Instead Bannon spent much of his committee appearance refusing to answer questions, even as his attorney was on the phone with White House Counsel Don McGahn, who strangely happens to be represented by the same attorney. If that sounds confusing, that’s because it was confusing.
It felt like Bannon and McGahn were both trying to set things up so that Bannon could refuse to answer questions, thus preventing Trump from finding out what Bannon was going to tell Mueller. If this was the case, it would have meant that Bannon and McGahn have both flipped on Trump (it would also mean that Reince Priebus, who shares the same attorney, has also flipped). The House Intel Committee decided to try to haul Bannon back in for more questioning, which brings us to today.
Rachel Maddow reported on-air tonight that Steve Bannon has decided not to show up for his scheduled appearance before the House Intel Committee tomorrow. If this holds true, it’ll mean that Bannon is trying to dodge the committee because he has indeed cut a deal with Robert Mueller. This would be crucial, because Bannon is in a unique position to rat out Donald Trump on a whole host of crimes.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report