The investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller is zeroing in on money laundering and individuals with close ties to President Donald Trump, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon said in interviews for a forthcoming book, characterizing Mueller’s aim “plain as a hair on your face.”
Of particular interest to Mueller’s team, Bannon said, are Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., and his son-in-law and senior aide Jared Kushner. “They’re going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV,” Bannon said in interviews for the forthcoming book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” by Michael Wolff, portions of which were read in advance by The Guardian.
“You realize where this is going,” Bannon reportedly said in the book. “This is all about money laundering. Mueller chose [senior prosecutor Andrew] Weissmann first and he is a money-laundering guy. Their path to f—— Trump goes right through Paul Manafort, Don Jr. and Jared Kushner … It’s as plain as a hair on your face.”
Already, Mueller’s team has indicted two former Trump campaign officials, Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, on charges that include money laundering, making false statements and failing to register as agents of a foreign government. Attorneys for the president have argued that the charges against Manafort and Gates are unrelated to their work for the Trump campaign.
Bannon, though, predicted that there will be more shoes to drop and that Kushner, who was a prominent real estate magnate in New York before joining his father-in-law’s administration, will be of particular focus. The New York Times reported last month that federal investigators had subpoenaed from Deutsche Bank records related to the Kushner family business.
“It goes through Deutsche Bank and all the Kushner s—. The Kushner s— is greasy. They’re going to go right through that. They’re going to roll those two guys up and say play me or trade me,” Bannon said. The former White House chief strategist, who left the administration over the summer and returned to his role as the head of the alt-right publication Breitbart, characterized the White House’s response to the ongoing investigation as “sitting on a beach trying to stop a Category Five.”
Matt Drudge, who runs the eponymously named conservative aggregation site Drudge Report, took a shot at Bannon on Twitter, writing that it is “no wonder schizophrenic Steve Bannon has been walking around with a small army of bodyguards.”
Bannon was also critical of the decision by Trump Jr., Manafort and Kushner to meet in the summer of 2016 with a Russian attorney who claimed to have incriminating information about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in the form of hacked emails, sourced from the Russian government. He told his interviewer that the meeting should never have happened, especially inside Trump Tower and without any lawyers present.
“Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad s—, and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately,” he said, adding that if the meeting were to happen, it should have occurred “in a Holiday Inn in Manchester, New Hampshire, with your lawyers who meet with these people” and then the information “dump[ed] … down to Breitbart or something like that, or maybe some other more legitimate publication.”
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