A highly anticipated book about the Trump White House comes out next week, and some advance peeks already are making headlines. Two in particular from Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff (a Newser founder): The Trump team, including Trump himself, genuinely did not expect to win, even on Election Day; and strategist Steve Bannon calls a meeting led by Donald Trump Jr. with a group of Russians "treasonous." More details and reaction:
- Trump response: "Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency," said the president in an emailed statement, per Bloomberg News. "When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind." Trump adds that the "only thing (Bannon) does well" is leak news to the media. "Steve doesn't represent my base—he's only in it for himself."
- Excerpt: New York has a long book excerpt, which begins with Kellyanne Conway's belief on Election Day that, best case, Trump could hold the loss to fewer than six points. And Trump himself seemed content to parlay his even bigger fame after the presumed loss into something else, perhaps a Trump TV network. “This is bigger than I ever dreamed of,” he told Roger Ailes of Fox a week before the election. “I don’t think about losing, because it isn’t losing. We’ve totally won.”
- Bannon: The Guardian obtained an advance copy and focuses on the comments of Bannon in regard to the 2016 meeting with Russians attended by Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort. "Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad s---, and I happen to think it's all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately." He adds, "They're going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV." And, finally, he predicts that Robert Mueller has a legitimate case against Trump via money laundering issues. 'It goes through Deutsche Bank and all the Kushner s---," he says. "The Kushner s--- is greasy."
- 'Third rail': Jonathan Swan of Axios says that by going after the president's family, Bannon "touched the third rail of Trumpworld." The White House wasn't prepared that Bannon would do that, writes Swan.
- Ivanka as president: The Washington Post has several excerpts of its own, including one that describes a deal Ivanka Trump made with husband Kushner. "If some time in the future the time came, she’d be the one to run for president (or the first one of them to take the shot). The first woman president, Ivanka entertained, would not be Hillary Clinton, it would be Ivanka Trump." Another excerpt details how Melania Trump dreaded the thought of becoming first lady, but her husband assured her that he wouldn't win.
- Drudge unloads: Chris Cillizza at CNN thinks Bannon is right on the money in his criticism of Trump Jr., Manafort, and Kushner. And Bannon "gets—better than anyone in the White House apparently does—what is headed their way." That's a reference to a Bannon quote about team Trump, in which Bannon says, "They're sitting on a beach trying to stop a Category Five." Less impressed is Matt Drudge, who tweeted, "No wonder schizophrenic Steve Bannon has been walking around with a small army of bodyguards..."
- Implicating Trump: A tweet from MSNBC has another line from Bannon, one that suggests Donald Trump himself knew of the Russian meeting at Trump Tower. “The chance that Don. Jr did not walk these Jumos up to his father’s office on the 26th floor is zero.”
- Bannon analysis: He becomes the first Trump insider "to say what is at this point clear to anyone willing to look at the facts: Whether or not there were any crimes committed, Trump aides colluded with Russia," writes David A. Graham at the Atlantic. Using the term "treasonous" is a powerful rebuke to the White House's statements to the contrary, writes Graham.
(Read more Steve Bannon