Steve Bannon is no longer in President Trump's inner circle, but Bannon thinks that same inner circle is doing a lousy job defending the president over impeachment. As a result, Bannon has just a launched a daily podcast from the basement of his townhouse in DC to offer advice and critique the current defense strategy. Details and related coverage:
- The show: It's called War Room: Impeachment, and Politico notes that it currently has a limited audience. It airs at 9am daily on half a dozen conservative radio stations in Virginia and Florida. However, Bannon is in talks with other stations, including in New York City. He also aims to have a webcast. Jason Miller, former communications chief of the 2016 Trump campaign, is a co-host.
- His rationale: Bannon thinks Trump's closest advisers are blowing it. "There is not enough focus, and there's no communication between the White House and the Hill or with the grassroots," Bannon tells the Washington Post. He calls the current impeachment process a "mortal threat to Trump's presidency," per Politico, but one the White House isn't taking seriously enough.
- Specific advice: Bannon says Trump and the White House should stop calling it a "witch hunt" and a "deep state" conspiracy, because it gives Trump supporters a false sense of security, reports the New York Times. In fact, Bannon says he got the idea for the show when he appeared on a conservative radio show and informed listeners that Trump would likely be impeached. He got a huge backlash, suggesting to him that Trump supporters are out of touch with what's happening on Capitol Hill.
- Specific advice, II: Stop calling polls showing support for impeachment "fake news," stop bad-mouthing everyone who testifies as unhinged, and stop letting Rudy Giuliani be the cable-TV voice of defense, per the Times. "We can't do the Rudy thing anymore," says Bannon. "Too many Ukrainian names, too many moving pieces."
- Too complicated: "Here's our fundamental problem: We don't have an elevator pitch to easily describe this to the right," adds Miller. He compared the current explanations from various White House figures to a confusing game of Clue, with different suspects and crime scenes.
- Tough talk: In an interview with the New York Post over the weekend, Bannon sounded a similar theme. "This is serious," he said. "As sure as the turning of the Earth, he is going to be impeached by Pelosi in the next six weeks." He said Trump needed a "24/7" team of impeachment advisers. In this and other interviews, he also credited Nancy Pelosi and Democrats for schooling the Trump team on messaging.
- Another venture: Bannon expects the show to run for two months, or "until the day after the acquittal of Donald J. Trump." Meanwhile, Bannon is returning to an old passion: making conservative-themed movies, notes the National Review. A new one, Claws of the Red Dragon, dramatizes the arrest of Huawei exec Meng Wanzhou.
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