Stephen Bannon reportedly called the infamous Trump Tower Russia meeting 'treasonous' and 'unpatriotic'
It seems that Stephen Bannon really wants to distance himself from the Trump White House.
The Guardian got to sneak a peek at Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury, an upcoming book on the Trump White House in which Bannon features prominently. Perhaps most notably, the former Trump campaign chairman and White House chief strategist says that Donald Trump Jr.'s choice to take a meeting in Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer in June 2016 was "treasonous" and "unpatriotic."
Trump Jr. went into the meeting on the promise of getting dirt on Hillary Clinton, but has maintained that no information was ultimately provided and that the summit was brief and inconsequential. Still, Bannon sees a dark future ahead for President Trump's eldest son: "They're going to crack Don Jr. like an egg on national TV."
Bannon additionally seems to believe the end may be near for the Trump presidency as a whole. "You realize where this going," he says about Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian election meddling, per Wolff. "This all about money laundering … Their path to f--king Trump goes right through Paul Manafort, Don Jr. and Jared Kushner." Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman, has already been indicted in Mueller's investigation on financial charges, while Kushner's bank records are reportedly being subject to scrutiny.
Bannon has made similarly dour predictions about his former employer before, like when he told Vanity Fair in October that he believed Trump only had a 30 percent chance of serving four years in office. But the bombastic Breitbart chairman reportedly believes the June 2016 meeting was the campaign's most unwise move: "The three senior guys in the campaign thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower," Wolff quotes him as saying. "That's the brain trust that they had."
Read the very rude email HLN's Ashleigh Banfield received from writer she criticized over Aziz Ansari story
After HLN's Ashleigh Banfield ripped apart a report published over the weekend accusing actor Aziz Ansari of sexual assault, the author fired back, calling Banfield a "burgundy lipstick bad highlights second-wave feminist has-been."
A woman using the pseudonym "Grace" spoke to the website babe.net, and said Ansari pressured her to engage in sexual acts, ignoring her cues that she was uncomfortable. Ansari said in a statement he was "surprised and concerned" because he thought they were both on the same page, and he had several defenders, including Banfield. On her show Monday, Banfield said it was "appalling" that Grace tried to frame what happened as a rape or sexual assault and "potentially destroyed this man's career over it, right after he received an award for which he was worthy." When Banfield's producer invited the article's author, Katie Way, to appear on the show, she responded with a scathing email that attacked Banfield's age and looks.
Banfield shared some of the comments on her show Tuesday, and on Wednesday, the entire email was sent to Business Insider from Way's editor, Amanda Ross. In the email, Way said she's "certain no one under the age of 45" has heard of Banfield, and said she "targeted a 23-year-old woman in one of the most vulnerable moments of her life, someone she's never f—g met before, for a little attention." Way called Grace "the bravest person I've ever met" and said she will never appear on HLN. "I will remember this for the rest of my career — I'm 22 and so far, not too shabby!" Read the harsh email in its entirety on Business Insider, and watch Banfield's reaction in the video below. Catherine Garcia
Walmart announced Wednesday is is now offering a product that safely destroys all forms of unused opioid drugs, but experts say it's an item that's not necessary.
Opioids, including powders, tablets, pills, capsules, liquids, and patches, mixed with DisposeRx and warm water, are turned into biodegradable gel that cannot be converted back into a usable drug. Walmart said this is the first product of its kind, and with 42,000 Americans dying in 2016 from opioid overdoses, the company's executive vice president of consumables and health and wellness said they wanted to take "an active role in fighting our nation's opioid issue, an issue that has affected so many families and communities across America."
About one-third of medications sold go unused, and it's easy for excess pills to end up in the wrong hands, spreading addiction, but DisposeRx isn't necessary, Dr. Andrew Kolodny, co-director of the Opioid Policy Research Collaborative at Brandeis University, told NPR. Opioids can just as easily be flushed down the toilet, "the problem is the general public just doesn't know that," he said. "Think about it. Every time someone taking an opioid medication urinates or defecates, it gets into the water supply. So that's not the real problem." Catherine Garcia
While meeting with Democrats on Wednesday, White House chief of staff John Kelly called some of President Trump's campaign stances on the border wall "uninformed," several people told CNN.
Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) confirmed the comment during an interview with Wolf Blitzer, and a person familiar with Kelly's meeting with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus said Kelly told them he was working on educating Trump on campaign vows and policy. "You make campaign promises but then you learn the reality of governing, which is difficult," Kelly said, per a lawmaker at the meeting.
The hour-long meeting ended without any sort of a deal regarding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigrants, but Kelly "indicated the president is motivated to have a fix," Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairwoman Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.) said, and he will look into a bipartisan immigration bill Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) and Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) put together. "He didn't say he'd sign the bill, but he definitely indicated there would be a positive review," Grisham said. Catherine Garcia
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday 2,000 U.S. troops will remain in Syria, as there are "strategic threats" to the United States beyond the Islamic State.
"Iran has dramatically strengthened its presence in Syria...through its position in Syria, Iran is in a stronger position to extend its track record of attacking U.S. interests, allies, and personnel in the region," he said during remarks at Stanford University. U.S. troops were sent to northeastern Syria to assist Kurdish fighters battling ISIS militants, and although ISIS now has just a small presence in the country, Tillerson said there's concern of a revival. "We cannot repeat the mistake of 2011, where a premature departure from Iraq allowed al Qaeda in Iraq to survive and eventually become ISIS," he said.
Tillerson also said the U.S. continues to push for a peace deal in the country that would exclude Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Catherine Garcia
Stephen Bannon did the one thing he wasn't supposed to do during his House Intelligence Committee hearing
It apparently only took an hour and a half for Stephen Bannon to crack himself like an egg during his hearing with the House Intelligence Committee.
Axios reported Wednesday that Bannon, the former White House chief strategist, accidentally told congressional investigators about his time working for the Trump administration, despite the fact that he'd been instructed not to by the White House. Bannon was less than 90 minutes into his hearing, Axios claimed, when he mentioned discussions he had with White House officials about the infamous June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower where Donald Trump Jr. tried to get opposition research on Hillary Clinton from a Russian lawyer.
The Trump Tower meeting "has become one of the most important focal points of the Russia investigation," Axios explained, given reports that President Trump himself helped draft a misleading statement responding to the news after the meeting was first revealed by The New York Times last July. The White House's involvement in the creation of that statement could illuminate whether the Trump campaign tried to collude with Russia and whether the White House lied about those attempts, Axios explained.
Bannon declined to elaborate on his accidental disclosure, repeatedly invoking executive privilege. He additionally faced tough questioning from Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) about comments he'd made in Michael Wolff's book, Fire and Fury, where he'd claimed the Trump Jr. meeting was "treasonous." Read more about Bannon's rocky testimony at Axios. Kelly O'Meara Morales
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 26,000 points Wednesday, CNN Money reported, marking a historic first for the market index. The Dow had first passed the 26,000-point threshold Tuesday, but Wednesday was the first day that it sustained those gains at market close.
Overall, the index spiked 323 points over the course of Wednesday's trading, ending the day at 26,115.65 points. The 1.3 percent bump was spurred by "stronger-than-expected quarterly results from some of the biggest U.S. companies," CNBC explained. Kimberly Alters
During Wednesday's press briefing, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders summarily dismissed the ongoing Russia investigation as a "hoax."
Asked by The Wall Street Journal's Michael Bender whether President Trump was "prepared" for the reported escalation in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe, Sanders did not mince words. "We've been dealing with this hoax for the better part of a year," she said. "If we have to endure the ridiculousness for another month we can certainly handle it."
Sanders on the Russia investigation: "I think we've been dealing with this hoax for the better part of a year. If we have to endure the ridiculousness for another month, we can certainly handle it" https://t.co/t3C0nMFPSx
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) January 17, 2018
Sanders did stress to reporters that the White House intends to be "fully cooperative" with Mueller's team, but she claimed the ongoing intrigue was unfair to the public. "Do the American people deserve [this investigation]? No, I don't think they do," she said.
On Tuesday, it was revealed that Stephen Bannon, Trump's former chief strategist, had been subpoenaed by Mueller to appear before a grand jury. Bannon agreed Wednesday to interview with Mueller, where he is expected to answer questions about his time working in the White House last year. Kelly O'Meara Morales