Rupert Murdoch has repeatedly urged President Trump to fire him. Anthony Scaramucci, the president’s former communications director, thrashed him on television as a white nationalist. Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, the national security adviser, refused to even say he could work with him.
.. So far, Mr. Trump has not been able to follow through — a product of his dislike of confrontation, the bonds of foxhole friendship forged during the 2016 presidential campaign and concerns about what mischief Mr. Bannon might do once he leaves the protective custody of the West Wing.
.. Despite his marginalization, Mr. Bannon consulted the president repeatedly over the weekend as Mr. Trump struggled to respond to the neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Va. In general, Mr. Bannon has cautioned the president not to criticize far-right activists too severely for fear of antagonizing a small but energetic part of his base.
.. Mr. Bannon also has admirers, including Representative Mark Meadows, the North Carolina Republican and the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, who said that without Mr. Bannon, “there is a concern among conservatives that Washington, D.C., will influence the president in way that moves him away from those voters that put him in the White House.”
And Representative Steve King, Republican of Iowa and an immigration hard-liner, said that shoving out Mr. Bannon would leave conservatives “crushed.”
.. Mr. Bannon, who adamantly rejects claims that he is a racist or a sympathizer of white supremacists, is in trouble with John F. Kelly, a retired Marine general and the new White House chief of staff. Mr. Kelly has told Mr. Trump’s top staff that he will not tolerate Mr. Bannon’s shadowland machinations, according to a dozen current and former Trump aides and associates with knowledge of the situation.
Mr. Bannon’s alleged crimes:
- Leaking nasty stories about General McMaster and other colleagues he deems insufficiently populist,
- feuding bitterly with Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and
- creating his own cadre within the West Wing that operates outside the chain of command.
.. One of his main sins in the eyes of the president is appearing to revel in the perception that he is the mastermind behind the rise of a pliable Mr. Trump. The president was deeply annoyed at a Time magazine cover
.. Others say Mr. Bannon’s continued presence in the White House is not serving the president’s interests.
“He’s got to move more into the mainstream, he’s got to be more into where the moderates are and the independents are,” said Mr. Scaramucci
.. Top administration officials like to joke that working for Mr. Trump is like toiling in the court of Henry VIII.
.. Mick Mulvaney, the president’s budget director, recently handed out copies of the play “A Man for all Seasons,” about the last years of Sir Thomas More, Henry’s chancellor, who was executed for failing to endorse Henry’s split with Rome.
.. From the start, Mr. Bannon, 63, has told people in his orbit that he never expected to last in his current position longer than eight months to a year, and hoped to ram through as much of his agenda as he could
.. Mr. Bannon’s ability to hang on as Mr. Trump’s in-house populist is in part because of his connections to a handful of ultrarich political patrons, including Sheldon G. Adelson, the pro-Israel, Las Vegas-based casino magnate.
.. He is especially close to the reclusive conservative billionaire Robert Mercer and his daughter, Rebekah, who is a frequent sounding board for Mr. Bannon.
.. has suggested that he might direct his energies at creating a movement to challenge mainstream Republicans too timid to pursue the president’s agenda, like Speaker Paul D. Ryan.
.. Mr. Bannon’s cause is being damaged, people close to the president say, by a war he is waging against General McMaster.
.. the national security adviser, whom he believes to be prodding the president toward possible war with North Korea and Venezuela.
.. Mr. Bannon’s protégé, chief speechwriter and policy director, Stephen Miller, shares his populist agenda — centered around a controversial immigration crackdown — and has become one of the president’s favorite aides.
.. Despite his image in the news media as a confrontational ideologue, Mr. Miller has proved to be a deft operator who has ingratiated himself to Mr. Kushner.
In demeaning tweets and public statements, Trump blamed McConnell (Ky.), who remains popular among GOP senators, for the party’s inability to muscle through an overhaul of the Affordable Care Act. The president also urged McConnell to “get back to work” on that and other campaign promises, including cutting taxes and spurring new infrastructure spending.
.. Trump associates said the attacks, which began Wednesday night and resumed Thursday, were intended to shore up Trump’s outside-the-Beltway populist credentials and would resonate with core supporters frustrated by a lack of progress in Washington.
.. Former House speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.), a Trump adviser, said on Fox News Channel that the president bears some responsibility for the Republican failure on the health-care legislation.
.. Even some Republicans close to the president suggested that the attacks on McConnell would hurt him on Capitol Hill, where relations with GOP leaders have seriously frayed as Trump’s agenda has stalled.
.. “Discerning a particular strategy or goal from these tweets is hard,” said Doug Heye, a former Republican National Committee communications director and a former Capitol Hill staff member. “It just doesn’t help enact any part of his agenda, and it sends a further troubling sign to Capitol Hill Republicans already wary of the White House.”
.. McConnell has been one of the most steadfast supporters of Trump’s agenda in Congress, and, at least publicly, Trump has had a smoother relationship with McConnell than he has with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and other congressional leaders.
.. In April, McConnell orchestrated the confirmation of Neil M. Gorsuch, Trump’s Supreme Court pick, changing the Senate rules so that Democrats could not block the nomination. The Gorsuch confirmation is Trump’s largest victory on Capitol Hill.
.. Politico first reported that Robert Mercer, a hedge-fund billionaire heavily involved in Trump’s political ascendancy, is making a donation to a group supporting former Arizona state senator Kelli Ward, who is challenging Flake in a Republican primary next year.
.. However, inside the White House, Trump has a collection of advisers who have had antagonistic relationships with McConnell and Senate GOP leaders.
- Stephen K. Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, came from Breitbart, a news organization that regularly antagonized McConnell’s leadership team.
- Stephen Miller, chief policy adviser to Trump, was not considered an ally to the Senate leader’s staff when Miller was a top adviser to Jeff Sessions (Ala.) in the Senate.
- .. Moreover, one of Trump’s top legislative affairs advisers is Paul Teller, who served as Sen. Ted Cruz’s top aide during a period when the Texas Republican accused McConnell of lying about trade legislation.
- And Mick Mulvaney (S.C.), Trump’s budget director, was a constant critic of the Senate during his three terms in the House, regularly opposing fiscal compromise deals that McConnell brokered with the Obama White House.
In 2008, Scaramucci served as a fundraiser for President Barack Obama. In September 2010, Scaramucci asked Obama at a CNBC Town Hall meeting when he was going to “stop whacking Wall Street like a piñata.”
.. He is a registered Republican and served as a National Finance Co-Chair for Mitt Romney for President in 2012.
During the 2016 presidential election, Scaramucci first endorsed Scott Walker and later Jeb Bush. In May 2016, after both Walker and Bush had withdrawn from the race, he signed on to Donald Trump‘s political campaign by joining the Trump Finance Committee.
.. They reported that Priebus opposed Scaramucci’s appointment because Scaramucci had a direct relationship with Trump.
.. He is a member of the World Economic Forum and speaks at the annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland
a similar story — this one involving Communist China — that developed during Bill Clinton’s 1996 reelection campaign. The Washington Post reported in 1998 that “evidence gathered in federal surveillance intercepts has indicated that the Chinese government planned to increase China’s influence in the U.S. political process in 1996.”
.. Many people still believe that a major cover-up of that scandal worked — in part because the media expressed skepticism and devoted only a fraction of resources they are spending on the Trump–Russia story. Network reporters expressed outright skepticism of the story, with many openly criticizing the late senator Fred Thompson, the chair of the Senate investigating committee, for wasting time and money.
.. congressional hearings on the China scandal in the summer of 1997 were dwarfed by reports on the murder of fashion designer Gianni Versace and the death of Princess Diana.
.. The Chinese fundraising scandal involving DNC finance vice chairman John Huang first came to light in the final weeks of the 1996 presidential campaign. A former Commerce Department official, Huang was a top fundraiser who scooped up suspect foreign cash for Team Clinton.
.. The DNC was forced to give back more than $2.8 million in illegal or improper donations from foreign nationals.
.. Chung confessed that at least $35,000 of his donations to the Clinton campaign and the DNC had come from a Chinese aerospace executive — a lieutenant colonel in the Chinese military.
.. A total of 120 participants in the fundraising scandal either fled the country, asserted their Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, or otherwise avoided questioning. The stonewalling worked — and probably encouraged Hillary Clinton in her own cover-up of her private e-mail server and her ties with the Clinton Foundation.
.. Indeed, much of the media basically gave the Clintons a pass on evidence that special-interest donors to the Clinton Foundation frequently managed to score favors from the State Department. Journalist Peter Schweitzer revealed in his book Clinton Cash that State had helped move along an infamous deal that granted the Russians control of more than 20 percent of the uranium production here in the United States.
.. The company involved in acquiring the American uranium was a very large donor to — you guessed it — the Clinton Foundation.
.. But a little humility and honesty on the part of the media would be appropriate. Much of the breathless and constant coverage of the Russia scandal is motivated by the media’s hatred of Donald Trump
.. When it came to the Clintons, the media tended to downplay or even trivialize many of their scandals. But, to be fair, a little bit of self-awareness is beginning to show up in the Russia coverage. Last Thursday, Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC noted that when it came to “opening the door” to lowering the standards of conduct by a modern president, Bill Clinton led the way with his lying and scandalous behavior.