When Donald Trump decided that fake-news publisher and alt-right nazi Steve Bannon would be his White House Chief Strategist, he presumably chose that role so that the overwhelmingly controversial Bannon wouldn’t have to go through Senate confirmation hearings, which would have been a firestorm for the ages. But now that Trump has subsequently also picked Bannon for the National Security Council, it turns out he’ll be unwittingly feeding Bannon to the Senate wolves after all.
According to section (a)(6) of federal statute 50 U.S. Code 3021, a civilian like Steve Bannon will in fact need to go through Senate confirmation and approval in order to serve on the National Security Council because he doesn’t fit into any of the five listed pre-approved categories. That obscure law, which has remained obscure because no president has ever tried to put a political hack on the NSC until now, was dug up by MSNBC analyst Jonathan Alter late on Monday night. This sets up a remarkable showdown if Trump goes ahead with the Bannon pick, because few in either party have shown any affinity or trust for the guy – and they’ll have limitless material for embarrassing him.
If Bannon goes through a Senate confirmation, it will give Senators the opportunity to grill him about his former role running fake-news white nationalist site Breitbart, and the chance to hammer him about the allegations that he beat his wife. And it will pull back the curtain on the mysterious Bannon, who is believed to be acting as de facto president in the Trump administration. If all 48 Democrats vote against him, it will require just three Republicans to do the same. Considering just how deeply Bannon is distrusted, along with the strong belief that he should not be taking the place of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the NSC, it’s likely that Bannon will be rejected by the Senate.
Trump went out of his way to make sure Steve Bannon didn’t have to go through Senate confirmation the first time around. So it’s a given that Trump simply didn’t realize Bannon would need Senate approval for the National Security Council. Now that this law has been unearthed, there’s a decent chance Bannon will be withdrawn. He would still have his role as Chief Strategist and puppet master. But it would mark yet another embarrassing body blow to Trump’s out of control administration and his pet Nazi.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report