For those who haven’t heard, CBS’s 60 Minutes is set to air an interview Charlie Rose conducted with alt-right hero Steve Bannon. While the full interview won’t air until Sunday night, the network has been hyping it by airing several clips, hoping to entice people to tune in.
Well, something Bannon said in one of those clips stood out to me. Not because it was as ridiculous as his claim that the Catholic Church wants “illegal aliens” to come to the United States to help fill its churches, but because it reinforced the widely-held belief that, above all else, Trump demands loyalty.
As reported by Talking Points Memo:
The ousted chief strategist told Rose that the weekend following the release of that tape was a “litmus test” for those surrounding Trump, and that the President’s allies should back him no matter what.“You can criticize him behind, but when you side with him, you have to side with him. And that’s what Billy Bush weekend showed me. Billy Bush Saturday showed me who really had Donald Trump’s back to play to his better angels,” Bannon said on CBS.
Asked if he “took names” that weekend, Bannon said he did, and revealed that Christie “was not looked at for a Cabinet position” because of his reaction to the tape.
“I told him, ‘The plane leaves at 11 o’clock in the morning. If you’re on the plane, you’re on the team.’ Didn’t make the plane,” Bannon recalled from a conversation he had with Christie.
Now, bear with me while I connect this some. It goes back to what former FBI director James Comey said during his testimony to Congress where he stated that he felt Trump was trying to bully him into saying things he wasn’t comfortable saying (in particular, publicly stating that Trump, himself, wasn’t under investigation) and to swear loyalty, not to the law — but to Trump.
After months of Trump failing to get Comey to bend to his will, he eventually fired him. Soon after Comey’s termination, during an interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt, Trump said that the on-going Russia investigation played a major part in his decision.
Comey’s testimony, of course, led to Robert Mueller being chosen as special counselor to investigate possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia, along with whether or not Trump tried to obstruct justice.
That’s what I feel makes Bannon’s comment rather important.
If Trump’s ever charged with obstruction of justice, one of his closest former advisors confirming that the “president” feels people around him should back him no matter what — aka pledge loyalty — could play a significant role in proving that the main reason Trump got rid of Comey wasn’t over job performance, but because the former FBI director refused to be a “team player.”
Chris Christie, someone who was mercilessly mocked for selling out to back Trump soon after dropping out of the GOP presidential race, was quickly discarded pretty much right after Trump was “elected” last November. Now it seems we know why, because he dared to distance himself from someone who had just been caught bragging about being a sexual predator.
Trump’s recent shameful treatment of Attorney General Jeff Sessions could also be used along with Bannon’s comments and Comey’s firing as even more proof of how Trump treats people who he feels aren’t “loyal enough” to him.
If Donald Trump ultimately faces obstruction of justice charges, a big part of the case against him is going to be James Comey’s assertion that the current “president” wanted him to swear allegiance to him. Then when Trump realized the former FBI director wasn’t going to be “on the team” (as Bannon said about Christie), by giving in to his demands to make certain public statements he wasn’t comfortable with making and ending the investigation into Michael Flynn, that’s when the “president” decided to fire him.
And if Trump’s ultimately charged with obstruction of justice, that could very well be what leads to his impeachment.
You can watch the clip below via CBS:
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