As cops in cop shows like to say, Steve Bannon has "lawyered up." The once-upon-a-time chief strategist for Donald Trump's improbable launch to the presidency has hired a big-league legal eagle to hold his hand as he faces questions from Congress about the Russia probe. Of course, many pros would advise anyone sitting down in front of the Intelligence Committee to bring an attorney along. But Bannon's move could prove important for three key reasons.
First: Up until now, Bannon has not had a hired gun by his side, ostensibly because he had not been drawn into the Russia investigation. Now, however, he has been and — considering his day-to-day dealings with Trump throughout the campaign, transition and early days in office — as they say in Moscow, that’s no small potatoes. (It sounds better in Russian.)
Second: Bannon and Trump have had a very painful falling out. Between Bannon raising the word "treasonous" around that now infamous meeting with Russians at Trump Tower, and reports of him effectively ridiculing his boss in that new book "Fire and Fury," the bro-fest between them is over. Trump and his minions have slammed him publicly and repeatedly, giving Bannon no practical reason to take one for the chief anymore.
And third: Bannon has even been booted from his leadership role at the uber-conservative Breitbart News. In political terms, he’s kind of a man without a country now.
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Bannon has tried to explain away his insults as misunderstandings. He's called Trump a great man. He’s expressed regret over his actions. But so far, the president has shown not the slightest inclination to let Bannon once again bask in the reflected light of the Oval Office. That matters, because if anyone could hurt this president by spilling what he knows, it could well be Steve Bannon — and if that is somehow the result of all this latest drama around the former King of Breitbart, a lot more lawyers could find themselves on retainer in D.C.