How Steve Bannon led Trump's 2016 victory and faces losing his freedom

The man who invented MAGA: How Steve Bannon led Donald Trump to victory but lost a bitter West Wing knife fight with Javanka

  • Steve Bannon was arrested on a boat in the Long Island Sound on Thursday for allegedly pocketing thousands of dollars from Build the Wall donor 
  • The 66-year-old was a shadowy and influential figure in Trump’s 2016 campaign
  • He had informally advised Trump before jumping on board from Breitbart website, which was backed by billionaire Rebekah Mercer 
  • After Trump’s win, Bannon was brought to the White House as his chief strategist, where he sketched out early Trump agenda items on a white board 
  • But after it was revealed he had been cooperating with Michael Wolff in his scathing Trump takedown, ‘Fire and Fury,’ the president fired him
  • He is quoted in Wolff’s book calling first daughter Ivanka ‘dumb as a brick’
  • He blasted Ivanka and Jared Kushner in a Vanity Fair interview in late 2017. ‘The railhead of all bad decisions is the same railhead: Javanka,’ he said
  • Trump distanced himself with Bannon after throwing him overboard

Steve Bannon, who was arrested on a boat in the Long Island Sound on Thursday, helped conceive Donald Trump’s populist campaign message – only to fall out of favor and get indicted for allegedly pocketing thousands of dollars from fervent believers of a border wall.

Bannon was a shadowy and influential figure in Trump’s 2016 campaign, where the president systematically went after his primary opponents, clashed with Republican Party elites, inveighed against China and global trade and framed a populist appeal to ‘forgotten’ Americans.

He had informally advised Trump before jumping on board from the conservative Breitbart website, which was backed by billionaire Rebekah Mercer.

After his stunning election win over Hillary Clinton, Trump brought Bannon to the White House as his chief strategist, where he sketched out early Trump agenda items on a white board. 

He fought internecine battles and sometimes forged unexpected partnerships with Trump’s first chief of staff, Reince Preibus, during chaotic early days of the Trump administration.

Steve Bannon, who was arrested on a boat in the Long Island Sound on Thursday, helped conceive Donald Trump’s populist campaign message – only to fall out of favor and get indicted for allegedly pocketing thousands of dollars from fervent believers of a border wall

After his stunning election win over Hillary Clinton , Trump brought Bannon to the White House as his chief strategist, where he sketched out early Trump agenda items on a white board (pictured) 

He is quoted in Wolff’s book calling first daughter Ivanka ‘dumb as a brick’ He blasted Ivanka and Jared Kushner in a Vanity Fair interview in late 2017. ‘The railhead of all bad decisions is the same railhead: Javanka,’ he said. Pictured: Kushner, Ivanka and Bannon in 2017 

How it was marketed: This was the GoFundMe originally set up to ‘privately fund’ a border wall

But after it was revealed he had been cooperating with Michael Wolff in his scathing Trump takedown, ‘Fire and Fury,’ the president fired him.  

Not only had Bannon consented to on-record interviews, he took aim at Trump family members, including Donald Trump Jr.

He called the infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting about dirt on Hillary Clinton that was attended by Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner ‘treasonous’ and ‘unpatriotic.’ 

He predicted to authorities: ‘They’re going to crack Don Jr. like an egg’ – something which did not happen.

Wolff reported in 2018 that Bannon told investigators: ‘Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad sh**, and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately.’

He is also quoted in Wolff’s book calling first daughter Ivanka Trump ‘dumb as a brick.’

He took a public shot at Ivanka during his ill-fated effort to back Judge Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate race, even after Moore was accused of preying on teenage girls as an older man.

‘There’s a special place in hell for Republicans who should know better,’ Bannon said after having left the White House and crusading for outsider candidates.

He is also quoted in Wolff’s book calling first daughter Ivanka Trump ‘dumb as a brick.’ He also clashed with Kushner, and on CBS ’60 Minutes’in 2017 called for Jared and Ivanka’s views to be ‘counterbalanced’ by ‘economic nationalists’ in the administration like Peter Navarro and Stephen Miller


After it was revealed he had been cooperating with Michael Wolff in his scathing Trump takedown, ‘Fire and Fury,’ the president fired him. Not only had Bannon consented to on-record interviews, he took aim at Trump family members, including Donald Trump Jr

Ivanka had said earlier: ‘There’s a special place in hell for people who prey on children’ in a shot at Moore, who ultimately lost the race. 

Bob Woodward’s Trump White House book: ‘Fear: Trump in the White House,’ contains an account of an angry clash between Bannon and Ivanka after an alleged end-run around Priebus.

‘You’re a goddamn staffer!’ Bannon screamed at her, writes Woodward. ‘You walk around this place and act like you’re in charge, and you’re not. You’re on staff!’

She retorted: ‘I’m not a staffer! I’ll never be a staffer. I’m the first daughter.’

He also clashed with Kushner, and on CBS ’60 Minutes’in 2017 called for Jared and Ivanka’s views to be ‘counterbalanced’ by ‘economic nationalists’ in the administration like Peter Navarro and Stephen Miller.

He blasted the power couple in a Vanity Fair interview in late 2017. ‘The railhead of all bad decisions is the same railhead: Javanka,’ he said.

He sneered at Kushner: ‘He doesn’t know anything about the hobbits or the deplorables,’ referencing terms adopted by Trump’s fervent base of support.

Trump in characteristic fashion distanced himself with Bannon after throwing him overboard, although he said he was ‘a good person’. 

‘Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my presidency’ Trump said at the time. ‘When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind.’

Bannon has eclectic interests and took an unusual path to power outside of the normal channels. He served seven years in the Navy, serving aboard a destroyer. He attended Harvard business school (pictured) and landed a job at Goldman Sachs 

In handcuffs: Steve Bannon was arrested and was due to be taken to federal court in Manhattan to face a judge on fraud charges

Bannon has eclectic interests and took an unusual path to power outside of the normal channels. 

He served seven years in the Navy, serving aboard a destroyer. He attended Harvard business school and landed a job at Goldman Sachs.

He sometimes appears disheveled in appearances, and cultivated a rough image, appearing unshaven and sporting wrinkled jackets.

In one of his best early bets, he helped talk a firm during a purchase into taking a percentage of ‘Seinfeld’ earnings, earning his own percentage on the show’s reruns.

He co-founded Breitbart News, calling it ‘the platform for the alt-right,’ and helped use it to blast political enemies like the Clintons while building up conservatives.

He also delved into Hollywood filmmaking and made a documentary about Ronald Reagan.

Trump had called Bannon a ‘good person’ when he left the White House. Bob Woodward’s Trump White House book: ‘Fear: Trump in the White House,’ contains an account of an angry clash between Bannon and Ivanka after an alleged end-run around Priebus

On the campaign, he had the unusual title of Chief Executive Officer, which reflected his role as a strategist who sought to develop a candidacy based on historical currents he perceived.

After he was out at the White House, Bannon was subpoenaed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators who were probing Trump campaign contacts with Russians.

He reportedly met with them for 20 hours, speaking on multiple occasions, and his assessments are reflected in the Mueller report.

On Thursday, Trump minimized his contact with Bannon in comments at the White House, downplaying his time as an advisor with an office close to the Oval Office – just as he had when he fired him.

‘I haven’t been dealing with him for a very long period of time,’ Trump told reporters, when asked about the indictments – just the latest to bring one of his key associates into a legal quagmire. 

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