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How Steve Bannon and Donald Trump Rode the Honey Badger Into the White House

Green reminds us that it wasn’t long ago that both men were looked at as political jokes, and not even bad ones. When Ivanka Trump told Rupert Murdoch over lunch that her father intended to run for president, the media baron replied, without even looking up from his soup: “He’s not running for president.”As for Bannon, when Green first met him in 2011 he came across as a “political grifter seeking to profit from the latest trend.” Later, as Bannon took the reins of the Trump campaign, he was seen by Beltway Republicans as “an Internet-era update of the Slim Pickens character in ‘Dr. Strangelove’ who rides the bomb like a rodeo bull, whoopin’ and hollerin’ all the way to nuclear annihilation.”But whatever the pair lacked in conventional political experience, they made up for with other gifts. Both understood showmanship: slogans, narrative, put-downs and especially conflict. They knew the value of rage and outrage alike — the first as fuel for a movement; the second as the indispensable foil for that movement.Continue reading the main storyThey also grasped that much that was supposed to matter in politics no longer did — detailed policy papers, for instance, or personal decorum. Trump, Green writes, “figured out that the norms forbidding such behavior were not inviolable rules that carried a harsh penalty but rather sentiments of a nobler, bygone era, gossamer-thin and needlessly adhered to by politicians who lacked his willingness to defy them.”That’s why Trump’s birtherism — the support he gave to the lie that Barack Obama was born abroad — never disqualified his candidacy, even as it helped him “forge a powerful connection with party activists.” It’s a tactic he would repeat straight through the end of the campaign, when he took to denouncing “international banks” in terms that shaded into anti-Semitism.“Darkness is good,” was Bannon’s advice for dealing with criticism from groups such as the Anti-Defamation League. “Don’t let up.” At another moment, when the campaign feared House Speaker Paul Ryan would try to steal the G.O.P […]

Trump Doubles Down on Threats Against North Korea as Nuclear Tensions Escalate

Mr. Trump made his latest comments on North Korea during a pair of televised media events that covered a dizzying array of topics. He assailed Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, for not passing his legislative priorities, calling it “disgraceful” that the party’s health care plan failed by one vote and hinting that the leader should step down if he cannot do better. Mr. Trump also said he would declare the opioid epidemic a national emergency and defended his decision to bar transgender people from the armed forces, saying he was “doing the military a great favor.”In his first response to Russia’s decision to force the United States to slash its diplomatic staff in half, the president said he would thank President Vladimir V. […]

Manafort’s Home Searched as Part of Mueller Inquiry

PhotoPaul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign manager, at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last July.Credit Rick Wilking/ReutersWASHINGTON — Investigators for the special counsel, Robert S. […]

Furious Gay Rights Advocates See Trump’s ‘True Colors’

The new ban, which Mr. Trump announced on Twitter, startling some of his aides, was at odds with the speech he gave in New Hampshire. The day before, in Orlando, Omar Mateen, a security guard, had killed 49 people and wounded 58 in the name of the Islamic State. […]

‘I Did Not Collude,’ Kushner Says After Meeting With Senate Investigators

In his prepared remarks to investigators, Mr. Kushner said he had been unaware that a June 2016 meeting he attended at Trump Tower was set up in the hope that a Russian lawyer would provide the Trump campaign with damaging information about Mrs. Clinton.OPEN DocumentDocument: Read Jared Kushner’s Prepared RemarksHe said he arrived at the meeting late and had been so uninterested in the discussion that he emailed his assistant to ask for her help escaping.Mr. Kushner, who gave his statement to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Monday, said he went to the meeting at the request of the president’s eldest son, Donald J. Trump Jr. […]

Excerpts From The Times’s Interview With Trump

HABERMAN: [Rod J.] Rosenstein.TRUMP: Who is he? And Jeff hardly knew. He’s from Baltimore.________TRUMP: Yeah, what Jeff Sessions did was he recused himself right after, right after he became attorney general. And I said, “Why didn’t you tell me this before?” I would have — then I said, “Who’s your deputy?” So his deputy he hardly knew, and that’s Rosenstein, Rod Rosenstein, who is from Baltimore. There are very few Republicans in Baltimore, if any. So, he’s from Baltimore […]

Citing Recusal, Trump Says He Wouldn’t Have Hired Sessions

While the interview touched on an array of issues, including health care, foreign affairs and politics, the investigation dominated the conversation. He said that as far as he knew, he was not under investigation himself, despite reports that Mr. Mueller is looking at whether the president obstructed justice by firing Mr. Comey.“I don’t think we’re under investigation,” he said. “I’m not under investigation. For what? I didn’t do anything wrong.”Describing a newly disclosed informal conversation he had with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia during a dinner of world leaders in Germany this month, Mr. Trump said they talked for about 15 minutes, mostly about “pleasantries.” But Mr. Trump did say that they talked “about adoption.” Mr. […]