After suffering a rupture following Bannon’s cooperation with Michael Wolff’s blistering tell-all Fire and Fury, the two men are back in regular communication at a time when Trump has fought to overturn the election results, claimed massive election fraud, and forced out some advisors while watching others head for the door.
Sources told Bloomberg Bannon has been counseling Trump on his effort to overturn the election results – a push that led to a failed legal effort that culminated Trump supporters rioting in the Capitol when Congress met last week to count the votes of the Electoral College.
Former White House adviser Steve Bannon exits Manhattan federal court on Aug. 20, 2020, in New York. Bannon pleaded not guilty to charges he defrauded donors to a $25 million campaign to build a border wall and was released on bond. Trump and Bannon are back in communication
Bannon, who helped run Trump’s 2016 campaign, came into the White House as chief White House strategist only to be indicted on fraud allegations last year involving the We Build the Wall nonprofit, as been speaking with Trump regularly during the period of the election overturn effort.
A source said Trump has been seeking out voices of agreement – even as other close advisors like former Attorney General Bill Barr left before Christmas or got pushed out. Three cabinet members resigned following the Capitol riot, and longtime advisor Hope Hicks departed the White House this week.
Son-in-law Jared Kushner is still a close advisor, though he was returning from overseas the day of the riot. Trump has reportedly not spoken to Vice President Mike Pence, who did not abide by Trump’s demands he find a way not to accept certified votes, and was rushed out of the chamber by security after the Capitol breach, where some rioters were cheering for his hanging.
Having Bannon back in the fold is one of many times when Trump has brought advisors back after suffering a break. After Bannon left the White House in 2017 and made highly critical comments on the record, Trump said Bannon had ‘lost his mind.’
‘Steve was rarely in a one-on-one meeting with me and only pretends to have had influence to fool a few people with no access and no clue, whom he helped write phony books,’ Trump said in a statement at the time.
President Trump is turning to a narrow group of advisors in the final days of his presidency
Law professor John Eastman, next to U.S. President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, gestures as he speaks while Trump supporters gather ahead of his speech to contest the certification by the U.S. Congress of the results, in a rally that preceded the Capitol riot
President Donald Trump (L-R), joined by Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Vice President Mike Pence, senior advisor Steve Bannon, Communications Director Sean Spicer and National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, speaks by phone with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 28, 2017
Bannon had helped conceive Trump’s ‘American carnage’ State of the Union speech almost four years ago after advising his campaign.
There is uncertainty about the current role of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who has been mentioned as a possible leader of his impeachment defense.
Giuliani has defended Trump’s conduct at his pre-riot speech, despite Democrats impeaching him for ‘incitement of insurrection.’ Giuliani himself told rally-goers there should be ‘trial by combat,’ language he said he ripped from HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones.’
The New York Times, which previously reported Giuliani had asked to get paid $20,000 per day for his advice during Trump’s bid to overturn the election results, reported Thursday that it was unclear Trump would agree to pay anything more than expenses.
Bannon himself has tried to reign in Giuliani on his own podcast Thursday – before it got yanked after incendiary comments from Giuliani about the election.
‘I don’t mind being shut down for my craziness. I’m not going to be shut down for yours,’ he told him on air.
According to CBC reporter Alexander Panetta, who listened to the podcast before it was taken down, Giuliani responded: ‘I’m really very frustrated. I’m not crazy.’
‘And I don’t say crazy things,’ he continued. ‘I know. I’m just teasing you,’ Bannon reassured him.
Giuliani defended Trump on a January 8 appearance on the Youtube podcast after the riot, which he blamed on a left wing ‘reign of terror.’
‘Believe me, Trump people were not scaling the wall. So there’s nothing to it that he incited anything,’ he said, although authorities have been rolling up Trump supporters who invaded the building.
‘But you’re not trying to justify it. There’s no way to justify the violence,’ Bannon interrupted him at one pint.
With the president banned from Twitter, Trump advisor Jason Miller tweeted Thursday: ‘Just spoke with President Trump, and he told me that @RudyGiuliani is a great guy and a Patriot who devoted his services to the country! We all love America’s Mayor!’ following Giuliani’s role in both of Trump’s impeachments.