Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist, is trying to pitch a Russia probe response strategy to White House aides and congressional allies despite Trump’s dismissal of him, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.
The Post, citing four people, said Bannon’s plan includes having Trump fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who named Robert Mueller to be special counsel, as well as having Trump stop cooperating with Mueller and invoke executive privilege in an attempt to render interviews by Mueller’s team with White House officials “null and void.”
“It was a strategic mistake to turn over everything without due process, and executive privilege should be exerted immediately and retroactively,” Bannon told the paper.
CNN reported on Tuesday that Trump is considering firing Rosenstein.
A source familiar with discussions regarding the Mueller probe told CNN Trump is still upset over the raid of his personal attorney Michael Cohen and that he hasn’t had time to study the details of the raid or listen to his advisers, including his legal team, while he is grappling with Syria. The source said Trump could still sit down for an interview with Mueller, but that “both sides need to keep their powder dry.”
The source pushed back on the approach advocated by Bannon, insisting the President’s legal team has been firm with the special counsel’s office.
‘Sloppy Steve’ tries to find receptive ears in Washington
Bannon’s effort to sell his strategy comes in spite of the White House’s extensive disavowal of the former White House chief strategist.
Trump in January nicknamed Bannon “sloppy Steve” and the White House in a statement excoriated him in a statement after a book about the Trump White House included quotes attributed to Bannon denigrating Trump.