Former White House adviser Steve Bannon has been quietly pitching White House aides and Trump confidants on a plan to better insulate President Donald Trump from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, the Washington Post reported Wednesday night, citing people familiar with the discussions.
Bannon’s plan would involve firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the Justice Department official who oversees the Russia probe and who signed off on an FBI raid on Trump’s longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen, according to the Washington Post. Bannon also believes Trump should fire Ty Cobb, the White House lawyer tasked with overseeing the response to the Russia probe, and stop cooperating with Mueller’s probe, according to the Washington Post.
Bloomberg Businessweek’s Josh Green confirmed the outline of Bannon’s advice for Trump.
Bannon, who angered Trump with his remarks in the book “Fire and Fury,” has not presented this plan directly to the President, according to the Washington Post. Instead, he has told White House aides and others who speak with Trump about his proposal. Bannon hopes that his plan would help Trump and may also be looking to restore his image with the President, as Green noted.
Bannon has proposed that Trump should assert executive privilege retroactively on interviews his aides have already given to Mueller’s team, an idea that some White House aides are wary of, according to the Washington Post. Bannon believes that Trump could argue he received poor legal advice as justification for the retroactive move, per the Post.
The FBI’s raid on Cohen earlier this week has renewed Trump’s anger toward Rosenstein and Mueller, and he has reportedly floated firing Rosenstein this week. He has also reportedly expressed less willingness to sit for an interview with Mueller’s team since the raid.