This was a brazen act, a defiant challenge to the powers that be that was slapped down with a swift ferocity within a short while of it’s being released to the public.

Oh yes, and also today on Wednesday there’s news about Steve Bannon’s spat with President Trump.

But let’s return to the first case: Paul Manafort’s lawsuit against the Department of Justice, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller for overstepping their authority. It’s a long shot, given that Manafort has been charged with 12 violations of the law, an admittedly dramatic beefing up by Mueller’s team of what are essentially charges of money laundering and lying. And what is essentially a result of failing to register as a foreign agent, a crime that is usually dealt with by requiring the offending party (often lobbyists) to duly register. Not this time however.

Does Manafort’s past list of clients provoke at the very least uneasiness on the part of most of us? Of course. Do the charges against Manafort have anything to do with any possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Putin’s regime in Moscow? Not so far. And that’s essentially Manafort´s legal strategy apparently. The order signed by Rod Rosenstein back on May 5, 2017 is now being attacked in Manafort’s lawsuit as too broad, seeing it in part says:

(b) The Special Counsel is authorized to conduct the investigation confirmed by then-FBI Director James B. Comey in testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intellligence on March 20, 2017, including:

(i) any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and

(ii) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation; and

(iii) any other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. 600.4(a).

(c) If the Special Counsel believes it is necessary and appropriate, the Special Counsel is authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising from the investigation of these matters.

It’s parts (ii) and (iii) of (b) and (c) which may prove to be most damaging for Paul Manafort, seeing that the order basically allows Mueller’s team free range to dig into financial transactions of any sort that they deem of interest. Not sure Manafort is keen on that.

Yes, (b) (ii) and (iii), and (c) are fishing expeditions for the most part. Is that appropriate for a special counsel? The courts will decide and so far opinion has been dismissive of Manafort’s lawsuit. But it will be interesting to see how the courts rule and what their rulings might imply about a special counsel’s reach in general.

On the other hand why bother with details of lawsuits concerning special counsels and deputy AG’s when you have Steve “Fire and Fury” Bannon using the T word in Michael Wolff’s soon to be released book? One can imagine the curious mixture of wonder, glee and apprehension in Democrat (and Special Counsel) circles …

How do we spin this without seeming like Nazi-loving alt-right white supremacists?

The specific quote in question that apparently infuriated the president is the one where Bannon tells Wolff that Donald Jr, Jared Kushner, and Manafort should have high-tailed it to the FBI as soon as they finished their meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya and Rinat Akhmetshin. Because they didn’t, and because – according to Wolff’s book – Bannon thought they would have loved to set up a meeting with Trump right there and then, they therefore engaged in a “treasonous” act.

So. The President is furious with Bannon. Some Never Trumpers like David French are proud of the President’s angry dismissal of all things Bannon. And Steve Bannon himself may find himself at the receiving end of a subpoena ordering him to appear before Mueller’s investigators.

Is the Mueller investigation metastasizing into vicious and petty inter-party and intra-party partisan dueling? Or is Steve Bannon potentially an important witness now? Or is he just a disruptive and opinionated outsider as far as the Russia Probes are concerned?

Keep in mind, this is a book by Michael Wolff about Steve Bannon’s time in the White House. It is not a Comey memorandum written on a laptop in a limousine after a meeting with the President. It is far less than that, and Bannon’s words should be viewed with the same disgusted skepticism by his legions of detractors as they were viewed before this book was pre-released. They won’t be of course. Bannon will now be taken far more seriously.

Finally, the last part of Trump’s written statement in reaction to the leaked quotes is interesting. It says:

We have many great Republican Members of Congress and candidates who are very supportive of the Make America Great Again agenda. Like me, they love the United States of America and are helping to finally take our country back and build it up, rather than simply seeking to burn it all down.

Is President Trump finally realizing what a noxious thing equivocating with the alt-right was?

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