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Steve Bannon could be on his way out & it would spell disaster for Trump

Steve Bannon Donald Trump
Steve Bannon is a key adviser to President Trump, but he could be on his way out. Photo: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

President Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, could be on his way out. He is at the center of reported White House infighting and Trump seems to be backing away from full support of Bannon in the wake of talk that he is the true man in charge, working the president like a puppet.

Bannon isn’t expected to go quietly, however, if he is indeed dropped, bringing up the question of whether it is more damaging to let him go than to keep him on. He could try to sow the seeds of discontent further from outside the White House, free from any restrictions to play well with others, as well as leverage his supporters to attack the administration.

A fascinating piece by Ben Schreckinger for Politico outlines some alleged abuses and harassment for those who wind up on the wrong side of Bannon:

When Steve Bannon vacated a home in Florida in 2015, his landlord complained that an entire Jacuzzi had apparently been coated in acid. After conservative media star Dana Loesch left Bannon’s employ at Breitbart News in 2012, she filed a suit against the website, alleging a plot to “sabotage” her career. When Bannon failed to take over the Biosphere 2 ecology experiment in 1993, he “vowed profanely to take revenge” on a scientist who crossed him, according to the woman’s lawyer. And when Bannon was breaking up with his second wife, she accused him of grabbing her by the throat and threatening to take away their children, while his lawyer reportedly threatened that she would end up with “no money” if the resultant domestic abuse case went to trial.

Not to mention what is said to await those who get on the wrong side of his supporters:

“It’s not like it’s definitely going to be ‘Apocalypse Now,’ but it could be, and that’s the point,” said a close Bannon ally. “Do you really want to gamble with this in your first 100 days?”

“He’ll have his minions eviscerate you on Twitter and write articles with fake information. You will be attacked and lied about,” said Republican operative Cheri Jacobus, who was the subject of critical coverage in Breitbart in 2015 after saying Trump was popular with “low-information voters” and who blames Breitbart for a campaign of online harassment she has endured since then.

“Bannon can launch something, and there’s an army of people who are part of the alt-right that will then pick up on it and they know what to do,” Jacobus said. “It’s like a chain reaction.”

When asked last week by Michael Goodwin of the New York Post if he still had confidence in Bannon, a clearly defensive Trump did not give a definitive yes.

“I like Steve, but you have to remember he was not involved in my campaign until very late,” Trump said. “I had already beaten all the senators and all the governors, and I didn’t know Steve. I’m my own strategist and it wasn’t like I was going to change strategies because I was facing crooked Hillary.”

“Steve is a good guy, but I told them to straighten it out or I will,” Trump added, referring to the infighting that he had previously been dismissing as “fake news.” Kushner and Bannon reportedly met earlier this month to work out their differences.

Bannon has reportedly called Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and a senior adviser, a “cuck” and a “globalist,” according to sources who spoke with The Daily Mail, favorite slurs employed by the alt-right, nationalist crowd. Breitbart, the far-right publication Bannon headed up before becoming a Trump adviser, has made Kushner a target of its coverage.

If Bannon is banished, Kushner would be the tip of the iceberg, those close to Bannon have predicted.

“We would see House and Senate races in 2018 to, you know, go after Trump’s agenda,” Charles Johnson, a former Breitbart employee, said. “Everything would slow down. His presidency would essentially be over. Bannon is more than just a man. He is honestly something of an idea because he represents something that both the establishment and the left-wing media hate.”

Mike Cernovich, a writer and leader of the so-called alt-right, who describes himself as a nationalist, is threatening to release a treasure trove of secrets damaging Bannon critics and foes if he is fired from the administration.

“If they get rid of Bannon, you know what’s gonna happen? The motherlode. If Bannon is removed, there are gonna be divorces, because I know about the mistresses, the sugar babies, the drugs, the pill popping, the orgies. I know everything,” Cernovich said on Periscope Thursday night.

“If they go after Bannon, the mother of all stories is gonna drop, and we’re just gonna destroy marriages, relationships—it’s gonna get personal,” he added.

While it is easy to dismiss Cernovich, especially considering his tendency to fan the flames of conspiracy theories, he does have a track record of influence that cannot be taken lightly. As The Daily Beast points out:

The president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., tweeted just last week that Cernovich deserved a Pulitzer for his recent coverage of Susan Rice’s efforts to better identify Trump campaign officials in intelligence reports.

“Congrats to @Cernovich for breaking the #SusanRice story,” Trump Jr. tweeted. “In a long gone time of unbiased journalism he’d win the Pulitzer, but not today!”

Cernovich cited the Rice story and another piece about Trump National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, which were both scoops later picked up by Bloomberg’s Eli Lake, as proof of his sourcing inside the White House.

“I have more stories that I haven’t released. I haven’t released every scoop that I have. I release my scoops strategically. I’m sitting on way more stories,” he said on his Periscope.

Former Breitbart spokesman Kurt Bardella said Bannon would at first resist going after Trump himself, in hopes that he could instead lay waste to everyone else around him and then be called in to fix it.

If that doesn’t work, however, all bets could be off, with some suggesting Bannon himself could launch a 2020 run against Trump.

Former Breitbart editor, who resigned amid controversy surrounding statements regarding child sexual abuse, Milo Yiannopoulos told Politico that if forced to join sides he would part ways with Trump, who he calls “Daddy,” and throw his support behind Bannon.

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