Bannon: 2019 ‘most vitriolic since Civil War’

Last Sunday, former Trump strategist Steve Bannon appeared in an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation”. Bannon says that, due the Mueller report, the ongoing Congressional investigations, and the Southern District of New York’s criminal probe:
“I think the next 90 days to four months is going to be a real meat grinder [for President Trump]… I think that 2019 is going to be the most vitriolic year in American politics since before the Civil War.”
Bannon predicts a tough road ahead for President Trump, but says that he’ll get past it, be stronger for it, and then can start positioning himself for the 2020 campaign. Analyst Comment: The general consensus right now, including among some Democrats, is that the Mueller report will disappoint those who were hoping for hard evidence of collusion. Once published, the report goes to Attorney General William Barr, who then decides what, if any, gets released to the public. Meanwhile, Congressional Democrats have already drafted a lawsuit against AG Barr if he fails to disclose the full report to Congress. As for the Southern District of New York, that’s a criminal probe and media outlets are likely to immediately begin emphasizing its importance if the Mueller report is a dud. Due to the five House committees now investigating the President and his associates, we can expect legal and judicial hand-wringing into 2020. But Bannon seems to think Trump will get through. On a longer term, the question is just how badly will these investigations and their findings, criminal or otherwise, impact the capacity of the Trump administration to carry out its obligations? The administration has already been hamstrung by career bureaucrats — usually referred to as the “deep state” — who can create red tape, slow walk directives, and wait until a new secretary is appointed; then start that process over again. There exists the potential that the Southern District’s investigation turns into charges against President Trump or someone in his periphery, which may add legitimacy to calls for impeachment. If the Congressional investigations, the Mueller report, and the Southern District of New York’s probes turn up nothing major, President Trump will have a major advantage going into 2020, being able to campaign on being ‘cleared’ of wrongdoing. That’s clearly not an option for Democrats. If President Trump is re-elected in 2020, his base will expect him to deconstruct the administrative state, which was Bannon’s goal from the outset. But Trump has to get through 2019 first. I still don’t think Trump is a shoo-in for 2020, either.   This brief is one of several that appeared in the 01 March 2019 National Intelligence Bulletin. Each week, I write about political, social, and economic instability that’s leading the country into a low intensity conflict. You can subscribe to my Early Warning and National Intelligence Bulletin reports here.

Samuel Culper is a former military intelligence NCO and contract Intelligence analyst. He spent three years in Iraq and Afghanistan and is now the intelligence and warfare researcher at Forward Observer.

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