Donald Trump’s attack on Steve Bannon, annotated and fact-checked

Trump and Bannon in happier times. (October 2016).
Trump and Bannon in happier times. (October 2016).
Image: AP/Evan Vucci
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Stephen Bannon, once Donald Trump’s right-hand man in the White House—or, as some would have it, puppet master—is attacking the president. And Trump has answered back.

According to Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by USA Today columnist Michael Wolff, Bannon regularly mocked the president’s understanding of strategy and policy. He also told the journalist that a campaign staff meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower was treasonous and “unpatriotic.” Bannon goes further, saying that he believes Donald Trump Jr. shared the information with his father, and suggesting the family is being investigated for money-laundering by special prosecutor Robert Mueller, according to an excerpt in the Guardian:

You realize where this is going, this is all about money laundering. Mueller chose [senior prosecutor Andrew] Weissmann first and he is a money-laundering guy. Their path to fucking Trump goes right through Paul Manafort, Don Jr. and Jared Kushner…It’s as plain as a hair on your face.

The White House issued a fiery statement attacking Bannon after the book’s contents were released, suggesting that he had “lost his mind.” While there’s no way for us to determine that aspect, like many of the statements released by the Trump administration, it contains a mixture of fact, fiction, and half-truth.

Here’s our annotation:

Steve Bannon has nothing to do 1 with me or my Presidency. When he was fired, 2 he not only lost his job, he lost his mind. Steve was a staffer 3 who worked for me after I had already won the nomination by defeating seventeen candidates 4, often 5 described as the most talented field ever assembled in the Republican party.

Now that he is on his own, Steve is learning that winning isn’t as easy as I make it look. Steve had very little to do 6 with our historic victory, which was delivered by the forgotten men and women of this country. Yet Steve had everything to do  7 with the loss of a Senate seat in Alabama held for more than thirty years by Republicans. Steve doesn’t represent my base—he’s only in it for himself. 8

Steve pretends to be at war with the media, which he calls the opposition party, yet he spent his time at the White House leaking false information 9 to the media to make himself seem far more important 10than he was. It is the only thing he does well. Steve was rarely in a one-on-one meeting with me and only pretends to have had influence 11 to fool a few people with no access 12 and no clue, whom he helped write phony books.

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 13, rather than simply seeking to burn it all down.