A report from CNN lays out Steve Bannon’s efforts to dismantle Donald Trump during the 2016 primary.
A conservative watchdog group led by Bannon tried to discredit Trump in the early stages of the 2016 Republican presidential primary by shopping a document alleging that Trump had ties to mobsters, according to conservative sources and a copy of the document reviewed by CNN.
The anti-Trump opposition research was the work of author Peter Schweizer for the Government Accountability Institute, which he cofounded with Bannon in 2012. It described years of alleged business connections between Trump companies and organized crime figures, allegations that have circulated among Trump detractors for years.
The New York Times reported on the document on Friday.
The GAI is backed by the Mercer family, one of the largest benefactors for Trump’s campaign. Rebekah Mercer, the daughter of hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, is listed as the group’s chairwoman on its website. But in 2015, when the document was produced, the Mercers were backing the campaign of one of Trump’s rivals, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, and Bannon had not yet joined the Trump campaign.
Notice a few things here. The first is the name Peter Schweizer. Peter is the guy behind the now infamous book Clinton Cash. The next is the Mercer Families involvement. The Mercer’s became a major backer of Donald Trump and are a massive part of Breitbart.
In early 2016, at the height of the Republican primary fight, Cruz cited possible mob ties as one reason for Trump to release his taxes. Cruz and his campaign cited published news accounts at the time as the basis for making the charge. Bannon expresses regret over response to bombshell book The document offers a glimpse at behind-the-scenes efforts by conservatives to derail Trump’s presidential bid. The document is similar to opposition research produced for both Republicans and Democrats targeting Trump. The best known of those is one produced by the Washington firm Fusion GPS alleging ties between Trump and Russians, which now has helped spawn a broad investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller. “We research political figures from all political parties and our basic premise is follow the money. That’s what guides our research approach,” Schweizer told CNN.
As CNN pointed out, it is not clear whether Trump had a clue any of this was going on. Considering all three of these major players had their hands in anti-Trump work it is amazing that all three jumped on the Trump bandwagon. In my view, Trump must have learned about this and acted in that manner. Trump would never turn down a major donor like the Mercers and starting a war with Peter would make no sense. With that being said we have seen what has happened with Bannon since he left The White House.
The picture as to why Trump dumped Bannon is becoming more and more clear. He didn’t dump Bannon strictly over this Wolff book, he dumped Bannon because he has been working against Trump since the beginning.