President Donald Trump reportedly believes his chief strategist, Steve Bannon, is the man behind leaks from the West Wing, a new report reveals.
Axios reported Saturday, citing sources in the West Wing, that senior-level staff in the White House believe Bannon is the man behind some of the leaks coming from Pennsylvania Avenue, specifically the leaks targeting Trump’s national security adviser, Gen. H.R. McMaster. If true, it would put Bannon’s job in jeopardy.
According to Axios, Trump is “fed up” and “irritated” with Bannon for a number of reasons, including “self-promotion” within West Wing ranks. The president is also reportedly displeased that Bannon sat idle while Breitbart News ran a number of articles targeting McMaster. Bannon is the former chairman of Breitbart News.
Since Trump appointed Gen. John Kelly as his new chief of staff last month, it may be likely that Kelly will do the “dirty work” and fire Bannon, Axios reported. After all, in just the two weeks that Kelly has been in the White House, Bannon has seen his influence dwindle.
Bannon has denied being behind the Breitbart stories. Plus, there is no evidence to suggest that he is behind them.
But, according to Axios, Bannon’s alleged reluctance to stop the stories is raising eyebrows, given Bannon’s history of intervening with Breitbart to influence stories in a positive fashion for the Trump administration.
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But the source wondered why Bannon hasn’t raised a finger to stop the hit pieces against McMaster that have run on Breitbart, a publication he used to run. The source pointed out that when the media began reporting, early in the administration, that Bannon was warring with Reince, the two went to extraordinary lengths to prove their friendship, and Bannon went to extraordinary lengths to shut down the narrative.
Leaks have been a major part of the Trump administration from its onset and Kelly has vowed to crack down on any staffer who is caught leaking, no matter how high they rank or how close they are to the president.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has similarly made public vows to crackdown on government leaks. He said recently that the Department of Justice is reviewing their policy on issuing subpoenas to news outlets that publish sensitive information. He also announced that the DOJ will be committing more resources to cracking down on the leaks.