It looks like Steve Bannon wasn’t clever enough to avoid getting caught committing a crime

By | August 20, 2020

Isaac Chotiner spoke to Bloomberg‘s Joshua Green about Steve Bannon and the federal criminal charges he now faces:

When did you hear about the charges, and what do you make of them?

I was actually out on a boat in the middle of a lake, and I looked at my phone and I had five texts that all said the same thing from different people: “Holy fuck, Bannon.” And I knew the moment had arrived when he had stepped in it, in a big way. I think anyone who knows Bannon has been anticipating his indictment at some point, on some charge.

Why do you say that?

Well, he was someone who was in the center of the Trump campaign, he was in the center of the White House for seven months, he was in the center of the Mueller investigation, the congressional investigations. I always figured that at some point they would catch him doing something. I think the irony is that it is like busting Al Capone for tax evasion, isn’t it? That what would finally get him is this little immigration grift? But it’s not a huge surprise to me that this would be the outcome.

Maybe you have answered this, but what does the indictment tell us about Steve Bannon that we didn’t already know?

Nothing. Well, I will revise and extend that remark: one of the things that he always told me, and one of the things that was part of my job for the last three years as a Bannon expert [laughs], was talking to him about the various investigations that seemed to be circling around him, and about whether he was going to get indicted. And he always rather smugly had the same line that he would go back to again and again. He would say, “I am always smart enough not to be in the room.” If you remember the conversation at Trump Tower with the Russians in June of 2016, he wasn’t in the room. That was his shorthand for saying he was too clever to get caught doing anything illegal. And, at least according to the indictment today, that turned out not to be true. [Continue reading…]

Philip Bump notes:

Each of the three people primarily responsible for helping shepherd Trump into the White House has, at some point since he announced his candidacy in June 2015, faced criminal charges. And those three people constitute less than half of the close Trump allies to have pleaded guilty to or been indicted on or convicted of criminal charges.

Last month, Trump was asked about his decision to reshuffle the leadership of his reelection team. He took the opportunity to praise both Lewandowski and Bannon.

“We have Corey, and we have all the people,” Trump told Fox News’s Chris Wallace. “And, actually, Steve Bannon’s been much better not being involved. He says the greatest president ever. I mean, he’s saying things that I said, ‘Let’s keep Steve out there, he’s doing a good job.’ ”

“But,” he added, “they’re all being — they’re all involved.”

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