Steve Bannon is strategizing his revenge against those who pushed him out as President Trump’s chief strategist, especially Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, who he refers to with disgust as part of “the West Wing’s coterie of New York Democrat ‘globalists,'” according to Vanity Fair‘s Hive website, in an article by Gabriel Sherman, the journalist who has done some of the best reporting on Trump and Fox News.
“He wants to beat their ideas into submission,” Alex Marlow, Editor-in-Chief of Breitbart News, where Bannon recently returned in a leadership role, told Sherman. “Steve has a lot of things up his sleeve.”
To further his feud with Kushner, who he butted heads with frequently while working for Trump, Bannon believes he has a key ally in Reince Priebus, who was ousted as the president’s chief of staff a few weeks ago and also holds grudges over what happened.
“According to several sources,” reports Sherman, “Bannon has told friends he wants Priebus to give his account of the James Comey firing to special prosecutor Robert Mueller.”
Priebus, according to Sherman’s sources, believes the decision to fire the FBI Director, which has had serious repercussions for Trump, was made in early May at Trump’s resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, where Ivanka, Kushner, and speech writer Stephen Miller were all with the president.
Shortly after that, Trump returned to the White House and told his aides he was going to fire Comey, reports Sherman.
At the time Comey was fired the White House put out a version of why that did not relate directly to Russia, but Trump then went on TV and admitted the Russia investigation was a driving force in his decision, which could lay the groundwork for a charge of obstruction of justice.
Priebus is one of the few people who would have been in a position to know what happened and to have insight into the president’s true motivations, which could make him a powerful witness for the prosecution.
Bannon has said he is prepared to go to “war” with Trump if the president moves away from the right-wing, nationalist agenda he promoted as chief strategist.
According to Sherman, Bannon’s foes in pushing his agenda inside the West Wing included Kushner, for whom he had no respect.
“Bannon finds Kushner’s political instincts highly questionable,” writes Sherman. “‘He said Jared is a dope,’ one Bannon ally recalled.'”
Bannon and Kushner clashed repeatedly about policy issues.
“Bannon, who was the only West Wing advisor to publicly support the president’s response to the violence in Charlottesville,” writes Sherman, “is especially galled at being scapegoated as an anti-Semite in its wake. ‘It’s one of the attacks he takes most personally because it’s not true,’ a Breitbart staffer told me.”
Bannon, reports Sherman, wanted to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and sought a much harder line against the Palestinians than Kushner. When Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas came to the Washington in May, Bannon stayed away.
“I’m not going to breathe the same air as that terrorist,” Bannon tested a friend, according to Sherman.
Bannon also told friends, reports Sherman, that it was Kushner who lobbied media baron Rupert Murdoch, whose properties include Fox News, to push his friend Donald Trump to fire Bannon.
The New York Times reported that Murdoch did exactly that in a dinner with Trump because the Australian-born corporate chief fears that Sinclar Broadcasting, with whom Bannon has a friendly relationship, was being positioned to compete with Fox News for conservatives.
Since he left the White House, Bannon and his biggest backer, Robert Mercer, have been discussing how to move Breitbart into television, and a partnership with Sinclar is a serious possibility, which means Murdoch was correct in fearing Bannon.
Breitbart’s Washington editor Matt Boyle told Sherman that so far the news organization has helped keep the Russia scandal from gaining traction with conservatives, but that could change.
“If Trump under the influence of Kushner and (Gary) Cohn (the former Goldman Sachs head who is Trump’s economic advisor, whom Bannon believes is part of the same New York cabal as Kushner and Ivanka) deviates too far from the positions he ran on. If that happens, said one high-level Breitbart staffer, ‘We’re prepared to help Pual Ryan rally votes for impeachment.”
In other words, the very people and groups who helped Trump create the coalition that got him elected, and who have held his voter base together despite all of the upheaval and problems, is not preparing to reverse course and do all they can to destroy Trump.
In the end, if Trump has to resign, is impeached, it may not be because Democrats correctly believe he is a disaster for America, but because his own loyalists are ready to turn on him if he doesn’t continue to listen to Bannon, even from afar.