It’s difficult to find two people in politics who despise each other more than Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and Donald Trump’s former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon. Kushner is already in deep and well documented trouble in the Trump-Russia scandal. This week Bannon learned that investigators are formally targeting him in the scandal as well. Bannon’s response: he’s trying to save himself by threatening Trump and incriminating Kushner.
Steve Bannon isn’t even waiting for his appearance before Congress next month. Instead he’s going straight to the media, this time Vanity Fair (link), and embarking on his strategy. First, he’s reminding the public that Donald Trump is an accused child rapist, in a not so thinly veiled attempt at letting Trump know that he has all his dirtiest secrets. Second, Bannon is telling Trump precisely how to play this: let Kushner take the fall.
Here’s what Bannon said to Vanity Fair about Kushner: “He’s taking meetings with Russians to get additional stuff. This tells you everything about Jared.” That’s right, now that Bannon is on the verge of being interrogated about his own role in the Trump-Russia scandal, instead of shying away from the scandal, he’s accusing Kushner of essentially an act of treason in that same scandal. It’s not that investigators are going to be influenced by what Bannon says to a reporter – but Trump just might be.
It appears Steve Bannon is trying to protect himself by blackmailing Donald Trump into protecting him, perhaps with a pardon. It also appears Bannon is telling Trump to go ahead and feed Jared Kushner to the wolves, in the hope that it’ll satisfy the public’s demand for justice, and perhaps somehow allow Trump and Bannon to survive this. Yeah, right. They’re all going to prison and they know it. They’ve become so desperate, they’re trying to pin it on each other.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report