President Donald Trump, seen here on Jan. 28, 2017, with...

President Donald Trump, seen here on Jan. 28, 2017, with Michael Flynn and Steve Bannon. Credit: AP / Alex Brandon

Outside the tent, spitting in

Speaking of Donald Trump’s buttons: Steve Bannon pushed them, with nuclear results.

BOOM! Donald Trump Jr.’s 2016 meeting with Russians offering dirt on Hillary Clinton was “treasonous” and “unpatriotic,” and investigators are “going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV.”

BOOM! Special counsel Robert Mueller’s money-laundering investigators will zero in on Jared Kushner’s family business loans from Deutsche Bank. “The Kushner ... [expletive] is greasy. They’re going to go right through that.”

BOOM! Bannon believes there’s “zero” chance that Donald Jr. did not take the Russian visitors to meet his dad, despite the president’s denials.

BOOM! When Ivanka Trump became a White House staffer, “people suddenly realized she’s as dumb as a brick.”

The Trump-torching by Bannon, who brought his alt-right-channeling, rabble-rousing tradecraft to the Trump campaign and later the White House, is in a new book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.”

Author Michael Wolff was given extensive access to the White House while working on the book, which depicts a president in way over his head, privately ridiculed by those around him. See Tom Brune’s story for Newsday.

He’s dead to Trump

Even after he left the White House last summer to return to Breitbart News and start his own political operation promoting hard-right candidates, Bannon was a phone pal of Trump’s.


“Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency,” a blistering Trump statement said. “When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind.”

Trump went on to denigrate Bannon’s campaign role — “Steve had very little to do with our historic victory” — and said his former chief strategist peddled “false information to the media to make himself seem far more important than he was.”

Declaring common purpose with Capitol Hill Republicans who have been Bannon targets, Trump said they are trying to “take our country back and build it up, rather than simply seeking to burn it all down.”

Shortly after Trump’s statement, Mitch McConnell’s campaign tweeted a GIF of the taciturn Senate majority leader breaking into a big smile.

Bannon: He just can’t quit me

Bannon is predicting that after a cooling-off period, he’d continue to speak with Trump, The Associated Press reported, citing a person familiar with his thinking.

Bannon’s got other relationship problems, The Washington Post reported — he has alienated a top financial backer, Rebekah Mercer of the Long Island megadonor clan, after he told several other major conservative donors that he would be able to count on the Mercers’ financial support should he run for president. She’s said to be dropping support for Bannon’s future projects.

Janison: Russia reality bites

Behind Bannon’s frequently foul-mouthed takedown of the Trump family is a cold truth — the Russia mess still isn’t going away, no matter what Trump says or tweets or wishes or blurts, writes Newsday’s Dan Janison.

Another drop of bad news came as the founders of the private research firm that commissioned the controversial dossier detailing salacious charges against Trump went public with a pushback op-ed in The New York Times.

The dossier was just one part of an investigation in which “we found widespread evidence that Mr. Trump and his organization had worked with a wide array of dubious Russians,” said Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch.

House Speaker Paul Ryan met Wednesday with top law enforcement officials to discuss documents related to the dossier, the Washington Post reported.

Not ready for prime time

Neither Trump nor many in his inner circle ever expected he would beat Clinton, Wolff wrote. The fame he gained from running was enough for Trump, who told Roger Ailes, the late ex-Fox News chief, “I don’t think about losing, because it isn’t losing.”

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn — told by friends that it wasn’t wise to have taken $45,000 from the Russians for a speech — replied, “Well it would only be a problem if we won.” (Flynn has since pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.)

On election night, Trump initially was horrified but decided he could do the job, Wolff said. Jared and Ivanka were even thinking about a dynasty: “The two had made an earnest deal: If sometime in the future the opportunity arose, she’d be the one to run for president.”

Top officials regard Trump as “dumb,” an “idiot” and a “dope,” according to Wolff.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said: “This book is filled with false and misleading accounts from individuals who have no access or influence with the White House.”


The White House didn’t get deep into specifics on what it contends was inaccurate in Wolff’s book, other than a statement from the first lady’s spokeswoman denying Melania Trump “was in tears — and not of joy” when he won. No one is challenging his quotes from Bannon.

But Wolff’s reliability for getting it right has been questioned in the past.

“Wolff has a penchant for stirring up an argument and pushing the facts as far as they’ll go, and sometimes further than they can tolerate, according to his critics,” writes The Washington Post. “He has been accused of not just re-creating scenes in his books and columns, but of creating them wholesale.”

Wolff has a disclaimer in his Trump book that in sorting through sometimes conflicting accounts, he “settled on a version of events I believe to be true.”

Popping his button

Sanders defended Trump’s Tuesday Twitter taunt that he has a “much bigger & more powerful” nuclear button than North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. “It’s just a fact,” she said.

Capitol Hill Democrats described the tweet as “juvenile,” “reckless” and “downright dangerous.” The Senate’s No. 2 Republican, John Cornyn, of Texas, expressed discomfort with the inflammatory talk on both sides. “I don’t know how anybody’s interests are served by escalating that rhetoric,” he said.

But by early Thursday Trump strutted anew on Twitter, saying the new contact between North and South Korea was all his doing. His assertion: “Does anybody really believe that talks and dialogue would be going on between North and South Korea right now if I wasn’t firm, strong and willing to commit our total ‘might’ against the North?”

Bannon the Mercer-less?

Long Island billionaire scion and longtime Bannon backer Rebekah Mercer has had enough of his public antics, a report in the Washington Post suggests.

Allegedly, Bannon even “told several other major conservative donors that he would be able to count on the Mercers’ financial support should he run for president,” the report said.

No comment was recorded from either of the purportedly alienated parties.

What else is happening

  • Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) rejoiced in Trump’s takedown of Bannon, tweeting: “Congrats to @POTUS Trump for pulverizing loud mouth self promoter Bannon. Time for Bannon to disappear or find work in a circus.”
  • There was no word on the blowup from Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), the beneficiary of a Bannon-headlined fundraiser last month. Zeldin was on a long flight and unable to respond, a press aide told Newsday’s Emily Ngo.
  • Speaking of Long Islanders: Famously foul-mouthed short-term former Trump spokesman Anthony Scaramucci said on CNN Thursday his slams at Bannon were validated by events.
  • Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo began mapping out a plan to counter the Trump/Republican tax plan’s hits on New York. It includes legal action and a proposal to “restructure the current income and payroll tax system,” reports Newsday’s Yancey Roy.
  • Trump pulled the plug on the voter fraud commission he named to look into his unsubstantiated claims that millions voted illegally in the 2016 elections. Blaming “endless legal battles” with states that won’t cooperate, Trump directed the Department of Homeland Security to figure out the next step.
  • Former FBI Director James Comey said there should be an outcry over Trump’s pressure on the Justice Department to target his political enemies. “Where are the voices of all the leaders who know an independent Department of Justice and FBI are essential to our liberty?” Comey tweeted.
  • New York and New Jersey officials see the Trump administration’s renunciation of an agreement for federal funding of the Gateway rail tunnel project as a negotiating tactic to win concessions on an infrastructure plan from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Politico reports.
  • Leon Panetta, a CIA director and defense secretary for Barack Obama, agrees with Trump that the former president should have spoken more forcefully in support of anti-government demonstrators in Iran in 2009.
  • Paul Manafort, the indicted former Trump campaign manager, sued Mueller and the Justice Department, charging they overstepped their authority in investigating him.
NewsdayTV's Elisa DiStefano and Newsday food writer Marie Elena Martinez take a look at the hottest places to dine on Long Island this summer.  Credit: Randee Daddona; Newsday / A.J. Singh

A taste of summer on Long Island NewsdayTV's Elisa DiStefano and Newsday food writer Marie Elena Martinez take a look at the hottest places to dine on Long Island this summer. 


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