White House officials feared possible Bannon attack

The war that erupted ...

Posted: Jan 4, 2018 10:40 AM
Updated: Jan 4, 2018 10:40 AM

The war that erupted between the White House and Steve Bannon Wednesday is one many people inside the West Wing feared would happen after the former chief strategist was pushed out of the administration several months ago.

While it is unusual for a former White House official like Bannon to trash a fellow top aide on the record -- in this case, Jared Kushner, the President's son-in-law -- the comments are a continuation of a long-running feud between the two men.

It is unusual for a former White House official like Bannon to trash a fellow top aide

But many people inside the West Wing feared it would happen

After Bannon spent the last several weeks lobbing criticism at President Donald Trump's inner circle and questioning the way the White House operates, tensions boiled over Wednesday after Bannon was quoted calling a meeting between Kushner, Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer "treasonous" and "unpatriotic" in excerpts from Michael Wolff's forthcoming book "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House."

Trump unleashed on Bannon in an lengthy statement where he dismissed Bannon's political influence and questioned his mental stability, and although the President is known for maintaining contact with people he has fired, he spent Wednesday privately telling people he was done with Bannon.

After Bannon left the administration in August and returned to his perch at Breitbart News, the question was whether he would remain an ally of the President's or become a thorn in the administration's side.

But on Wednesday, in the White House's eyes, Bannon became more than just a nuisance. A source close to the West Wing says he crossed a clear line when he went after the President's family, noting that Bannon went from being an occasional annoyance to an adversary.

"Once Bannon got personal, the gloves were off," the source said. "They are holding nothing back."

During his time at the White House, Bannon spearheaded a nationalist faction of aides within the West Wing, often clashing with a more global-minded group that included Ivanka Trump, Kushner and chief economic adviser Gary Cohn. Those early months of the Trump administration were rife with drama from those competing power centers.

Anecdotes quickly emerged of Ivanka pleading with her father to moderate his positions -- or at least his tone -- often, with little success. It took a while to determine those leaks weren't entirely the result of her Manhattan friends casting her in the role of their liberal savior, but rather her newfound White House colleagues looking to undermine her influence, according to administration officials.

The leaks targeting Ivanka Trump appeared to slow once Bannon departed the administration in August. Meanwhile, Trump and Kushner benefited from the structure under chief of staff John Kelly, who has helped West Wing staff to define their roles more clearly.

Bannon took aim at Ivanka publicly as recently as last month. Speaking at an election eve rally for Roy Moore, he appeared to mock her statement on Moore, criticizing members of his party who spoke out against the Senate candidate: "There's a special place in hell for Republicans who should know better."

And Bannon hasn't limited his criticism to the Washington-based members of the Trump family.

"They're going to crack Don Jr. like an egg on national TV," he told Wolff about the President's eldest son, according to excerpts obtained by The Guardian.

The President's statement appeared to acknowledge that Bannon's leaks struck a nerve.

"Steve pretends to be at war with the media, which he calls the opposition party, yet he spent his time at the White House leaking false information to the media to make himself seem far more important than he was. It is the only thing he does well," Trump said.

For their part, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, who spent the holidays with the President in Palm Beach, have kept their heads down, back at work in the West Wing and, through a spokesperson, declining to comment publicly on the unfolding scene.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 497790

Reported Deaths: 9917
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34102530
DeSoto31839398
Hinds31837622
Jackson24314377
Rankin21881388
Lee15427234
Madison14525279
Jones13772241
Forrest13412250
Lauderdale11937314
Lowndes10934185
Lamar10470135
Pearl River9431237
Lafayette8454138
Hancock7697126
Washington7365156
Oktibbeha7111129
Monroe6727174
Warren6642176
Pontotoc6609101
Neshoba6606205
Panola6460131
Marshall6386132
Bolivar6266145
Union596094
Pike5784152
Alcorn5633101
Lincoln5417134
George491879
Scott470998
Tippah465381
Prentiss464181
Leflore4627143
Itawamba4596104
Adams4570119
Tate4546109
Copiah445191
Simpson4421116
Wayne438572
Yazoo438586
Covington427394
Marion4216107
Sunflower4215104
Coahoma4115104
Leake407787
Newton380879
Grenada3692108
Stone358464
Tishomingo356391
Attala330289
Jasper328265
Winston313191
Clay306375
Chickasaw296767
Clarke290694
Calhoun277945
Holmes266987
Smith262550
Yalobusha232647
Tallahatchie225251
Walthall217763
Greene215548
Lawrence211140
Perry204755
Amite203954
Webster201645
Noxubee185340
Montgomery179056
Jefferson Davis170642
Carroll167438
Tunica158639
Benton147438
Kemper141241
Choctaw133026
Claiborne131237
Humphreys129038
Franklin119128
Quitman106227
Wilkinson104539
Jefferson94234
Sharkey64020
Issaquena1937
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 814025

Reported Deaths: 15179
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1140561910
Mobile722691323
Madison52017686
Shelby37304341
Baldwin37087540
Tuscaloosa34966599
Montgomery33971725
Lee23149240
Calhoun22159470
Morgan20659372
Etowah19764496
Marshall18254300
Houston17310405
St. Clair15921337
Cullman15325290
Limestone15222198
Elmore15086284
Lauderdale14157294
Talladega13723272
DeKalb12574259
Walker11089366
Blount10102174
Autauga9901146
Jackson9793180
Coffee9182189
Dale8864181
Colbert8791200
Tallapoosa7044195
Escambia6743127
Covington6685179
Chilton6592160
Russell626158
Franklin5935105
Chambers5560142
Marion4958126
Dallas4889199
Clarke473482
Pike4720105
Geneva4564126
Winston4476101
Lawrence4266117
Bibb421786
Barbour355675
Marengo334089
Monroe330462
Randolph327663
Butler324894
Pickens313982
Henry311265
Hale309487
Cherokee300057
Fayette290979
Washington251151
Cleburne247058
Crenshaw243775
Clay240767
Macon230762
Lamar217846
Conecuh185652
Coosa178838
Lowndes174161
Wilcox167738
Bullock151744
Perry138040
Sumter131138
Greene125844
Choctaw87027
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