After his much criticized entrance into the White House, and similarly controversial and combative exit from the administration, Stephen Bannon continues to remain in the spotlight regarding the many issues facing the Trump presidency. Even after the blatant conflict that erupted between the president and his former chief strategist, ranging from the very public ousting of Bannon, as well as the unfriendly remarks being strewn back and forth at one another, Bannon re-emerged this week to suggest a change in legal strategy to President Trump and his administration.
Bannon, who was quoted earlier this year in Michael Wolff’s bombshell book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” making scathing remarks against both Trump and those who work for him, has been reported echoing much of the same ideas the president has been mulling in recent weeks, including the sacking of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and finding means by which to decrease the authority of Mueller’s investigation.
According to the reports, Bannon has remained in contact with certain members of Trump’s inner circle, and is attempting to provide the administration ways to sideline special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing Russia inquiry. An article from the Washington Post details Bannon’s plan, claiming that:
‘The first step, these people say, would be for Trump to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who oversees the work of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and in recent days signed off on a search warrant of Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen.
Bannon is also recommending the White House cease its cooperation with Mueller, reversing the policy of Trump’s legal team to provide information to the special counsel’s team and to allow staff members to sit for interviews.’
Despite his shaky and volatile exit from the White House, Bannon has been persistent in his attempts to remain in the president’s good graces, even after Trump publicly lambasted his former chief strategist for insulting his two eldest children, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, as quoted in Wolff’s aforementioned book.
Look who emerged from out under his bridge to undermine our democracy again.
Bannon's probably been waiting months for this moment, so he can get back into Trump's inner circle.https://t.co/z4P9Yo7Nu9
— Nate Lerner (@NathanLerner) April 13, 2018
Bannon has further suggested that the president should consider asserting executive privilege against Mueller’s investigation, trying to make the argument that Trump was not fully briefed by his legal team regarding the implications of not invoking such authority. Bannon specifically targeted White House attorney Ty Cobb, who has been at the forefront of dealing with Mueller’s investigation, iterating that Cobb should be fired for his cooperative behavior with the special counsel regarding the inquiry.
The fact that Steve Bannon is desperately begging the White House to attack the Mueller probe shows that he knows that he and the Trump administration are in trouble BIGLY.
— Ed Krassenstein (@EdKrassen) April 12, 2018
It is unknown whether the president is considering any part of Bannon’s proposed plans, but made it fairly clear in a tweet on Thursday that he has no intention of ousting Cobb.
I have agreed with the historically cooperative, disciplined approach that we have engaged in with Robert Mueller (Unlike the Clintons!). I have full confidence in Ty Cobb, my Special Counsel, and have been fully advised throughout each phase of this process.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 12, 2018
In regards to the first part of Bannon’s plan regarding invoking executive privilege, legal experts have pushed back claiming that such an action would be an illogical and indefensible move, even more so than the decision to fire Rosenstein, and that Bannon’s suggestion is unfounded given that it is not in the president’s realm of authority to apply the executive privilege in question.
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