WASHINGTON – Steve Bannon, the former White House chief strategist and Trump’s 2016 campaign CEO, said in an interview with CBS News that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s handling of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump is “actually quite brilliant.”
“I disagree with her ideologically, but I think Nancy Pelosi is a master at political warfare. I think, strategically, what she has done from their perspective is actually quite brilliant,” he said in the interview.
Bannon elaborated to CBS that Republicans “are not as united on messaging as the Democrats” regarding impeachment, saying a “sense of urgency” among Trump’s allies “is not there today.”
Though Bannon had a falling out with Trump, he has continually defended the president, even starting a podcast entitled “War Room: Impeachment” aimed at helping the GOP with messaging during the hearings and investigation. His podcast co-hosts include Jason Miller, the former communications director of Trump’s campaign in 2016, and Raheem Kassam, a former editor at Breitbart, where Bannon was a founder and executive chair.
The White House has struggled with messaging regarding impeachment, with Trump even dismissing the need to hire a response team. Bannon said Trump isn’t focused on impeachment because: “He’s got a day job.”
Bannon also commented on the public hearings that begin Wednesday morning, telling CBS News that those hearings mark the unofficial start for 2020, reiterating that, “You’ve got to get maniacally focused on how you’re going to make this case to the American people, and it’s going to start tomorrow morning at 10 a.m.”
The public phase of the inquiry begins with testimonies from two career diplomats: Bill Taylor, the current top American diplomat in Ukraine, and George Kent, a top State Department official. The committee will later hear from former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch on Friday at 9 am ET.
The impeachment inquiry is built upon Trump’s July 25 call to with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, when he urged the investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden while withholding nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine. House Democrats contend the move and efforts to conceal it later are potentially impeachable offenses.
Trump and Republicans have responded by saying there is no quid pro quo and that the call was “perfect.”