Here's What The Fuck Is Going On With Steve Bannon And Robert Mueller
Rachel Maddow figured out why Steve Bannon is being treated so weird -- why Robert Mueller's team tried to start serving him subpoenas LAST WEEK to appear before the grand jury, why he wasn't answering questions in the House Intelligence Committee, and what might have led Trey Gowdy and Devin Nunes to get sooooo pissed they subpoenaed Bannon to his face. On her show Wednesday night, Maddow noted there was a dog-and-pony show aspect to the scene in Congress when Bannon's lawyer, Bill Burck, was supposedly on the phone with the White House counsel's office in real time trying to find out whether Bannon could answer questions or whether some BS claim of "executive privilege" applied. What on earth is going on here?
Bloomberg reported Wednesday that Uttam Dhillon from the White House counsel's office had specifically told Burck "executive privilege" applied with his client, because "reasons." But on the other hand:
WHAT ON EARTH IS GOING ON HERE?
Remember, Bill Burck, Bannon's lawyer, is also representing White House counsel Don McGahn and former chief of staff Reince Priebus. KEEP THAT IN YOUR MIND, as Maddow would say. (AND WATCH THIS SPACE! Oh wait, it's not time for Watch This Space yet? OK.) Maddow noted that it would be super weird if Burck was having to talk on the phone WITH HIMSELF about whether it was OK with his client Don McGahn for his client Steve Bannon to answer questions for House Intel. Turns out, as Maddow explained Wednesday night, the subpoena from Mueller was actually intended to keep Bannon from delivering evidence and testimony unto the House Intelligence Committee, which is run by Trump-licking shithead Devin Nunes. In essence, Mueller was calling "Shotgun!" and making Devin Nunes and Trey Gowdy ride in the trunk.
Here, watch a long TV clip, in which Maddow directly compares this shitshow to the shitshow that happened when Paul Manafort suddenly showed up to testify for the Senate Intel Committee, and the very next morning was greeted with a no-knock home invasion from Mueller's boys:
We knew Bannon's testimony was a shitshow. We knew he was so obstinate about answering questions (executive privilege!!!) he managed to get Trey Gowdy and Devin Nunes to forget they were supposed to be obstructing justice for Donald Trump, because hell hath no fury like a Congressional committee scorned. Now we know a bit more about why. Mueller, because he is special counsel in the Justice Department, which is part of the Executive Branch, doesn't really give two fucks about your quote unquote "executive privilege," therefore he is saying MINE!
But anyway, about Bannon's actual testimony.
Axios has released a 579-word epistle (by their standards, it's fuckin' Tolstoy) about Bannon's secretions before the committee, and it is JUICY, which is a word we probably shouldn't type right after we say #BannonSecretions, LOL, you just died of being grossed out. Unfortunately, Bannon reportedly slipped on one of his secretions, ewwwwww:
Steve Bannon made one conspicuous slip up in his closed-door hearing on Tuesday with the House Intelligence Committee [...]. Bannon admitted that he'd had conversations with Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer and legal spokesman Mark Corallo about Don Junior's infamous meeting with the Russians in Trump Tower in June 2016. [...]
Bannon immediately realized he'd slipped up and disclosed conversations he wasn't supposed to discuss, because they happened while he was chief strategist in the White House. Throughout the rest of the session, committee members — in particular Republican Trey Gowdy and Democrat Adam Schiff — hammered Bannon over the fact that he'd mentioned those conversations but refused to discuss anything else about his time in the White House.
LOL, so Bannon wasn't allowed to discuss anything about his time during the transition or after the inauguration, but he spilled the beans that he talked to Reince Priebus and Sean Spicer and Mark Corallo (who reportedly quit his job on Trump's legal team over this) about the Donald Trump Jr. Russian meeting Bannon called "treason" and Corallo deemed obstruction of justice. OOPS!
We hate Trey Gowdy with the fire of one thousand suns, but we understand if he, a former prosecutor, and Adam Schiff (whom we adore), also a former prosecutor, decided to tag team Bannon to death after that.
Axios has more on that:
Trey Gowdy, who led the Republican questioning, pressed Bannon hard on his description of Don Junior's Trump Tower meeting as "treasonous." Gowdy asked Bannon whether he would consider it treason for somebody close to him to approach Wikileaks' Julian Assange to get opposition research on Hillary Clinton. Bannon replied that such a scenario would be bad judgment. Then Gowdy produced emails from a Cambridge Analytica employee — the Trump campaign data firm closely affiliated with Bannon — boasting of just such contacts with Assange. Bannon claimed this was the first time he'd seen these emails (though they've been in the news.)
What Cambridge Analytica emails with WikiLeaks? Oh, you mean THOSE Cambridge Analytica emails with WikiLeaks? Steve Bannon didn't know you were talking about THOSE Cambridge Analytica emails with WikiLeaks. Steve Bannon, like everyone else, should really read Wonkette.
Bannon also reportedly got mad at Gowdy and the other Republicans for even asking him questions or investigating Trump and Russia because PFFFFFFFT, they are being Mitch McConnell Establishment Dumb-Dumbs, trying to "nullify" the election, at which point a banjo-playing dragon emerged from Trey Gowdy's bad hair and killed Steve Bannon with fire over the suggestion he was trying to "nullify" the election. RIP Steve Bannon, the weird banjo-playing dragon that lives inside Trey Gowdy's bad hair just killed you! :(
Anyway, it was a very good hearing.
Will there be another one? Or will Robert Mueller keep Bannon from doing that? Who knows!
WATCH THIS SPACE.
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