Bannon: Trump Is Going To Be "Very Aggressive," Go Honey Badger While Campaigning After Collusion "Hysteria"

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Former Trump advisor Steve Bannon opined on the Mueller report summary and how he believes the president will react in an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper. Bannon said he believes Trump will be "very aggressive" and go "full animal" or "honey badger" after the Mueller report is released and the investigation is concluded. He also advised Democrats that running a campaign on "orange man bad" would be ineffective.

"Donald Trump is a fighter and he's going to fight on this one.  And so, I just think it’s time -- and all of these other investigations about his finances and all of this stuff, I think the American people are eventually going to say, hey, look, you're grasping at straws here.  "





"If you think orange man bad, right, and then get organized and get out there and do the kind of effort like you did in 2018 and defeat him in the way that you should -- you know, which we have in the United States," he said. "If you want to win, win at the ballot box, not in some sort of investigative apparatus to do that."

Bannon said Trump is going to be "very tough" in the 2020 campaign. He said, "He's going to go right at you." He said Democrats will not focus on policy but pick a candidate who they think has the best chance to beat Trump.

"Now that he sees himself as no longer being under the cloud of the Mueller investigation, what does going full animal look like? What does that mean for -- because I also know you said that 2019 would be the most vitriolic year in American politics since before the Civil War and you include Vietnam in that. Both of those things are pretty startling statements. What is -- what’s the vision for this year then?" Cooper asked Bannon.

"Well you know I was talking a Spanish journalist and I think I said honey badger, which as you know is one of my favorite phrases," Bannon responded.

"I love honey badger. Honey badger don’t care," Cooper clarified.

"Exactly," Bannon said. "I think the -- I think the president is going to be very aggressive. You saw some of the tweets. In fact I was talking here to the foreign press association in Rome and the president tweeted out the time (inaudible) the opposition party media."

"So I think the president’s going to be very aggressive," Bannon predicted. "I think he feels like the work of the country, particularly the work he had was kind of slowed down, particularly looking internationally because of some the hysteria around this investigation. Not the investigation. I think this is the thing that people should focus on. He, you know, overly supplied people with documents. He was very aggressive in getting this information out there because he said from day one there’s no collusion."

Transcript, via CNN:

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST:  Yes, and there’s a lot -- there’s stuff going on with China, which I do want to talk to you about.  In -- in an interview though, I think you gave earlier this week, you said that the president’s going to quote -- or going to go full animal, which is an expression I hadn’t really heard before but it’s really stuck in my mind.
 
Now that he sees himself as no longer being under the cloud of the Mueller investigation, what does going full animal look like?  What does that mean for -- because I also know you said that 2019 would be the most vitriolic year in American politics since before the Civil War and you include Vietnam in that.  Both of those things are pretty startling statements.  What is -- what’s the vision for this year then?
 
STEVE BANNON, FMR. TRUMP CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN:  Well you know I was talking a Spanish journalist and I think I said honey badger, which as you know is one of my favorite phrases.
 
COOPER:  I love honey badger.  Honey badger don’t care.
 
(CROSSTALK)
 
BANNON:  Yes.  Exactly.  Exactly.  I think the -- I think the president is going to be very aggressive.  You saw some of the tweets.  In fact I was talking here to the foreign press association in Rome and the president tweeted out the time (inaudible) the opposition party media.
 
So I think the president’s going to be very aggressive.  I think he feels like the work of the country, particularly the work he had was kind of slowed down, particularly looking internationally because of some the hysteria around this investigation.
 
Not the investigation.  I think this is the thing that people should focus on.  He, you know, overly supplied people with documents.  He was very aggressive in getting this information out there because he said from day one there’s no collusion.
 
But I think about the hysteria is that what he’s -- he’s you know I think reasonably upset about.  And I think you will definitely see some push back.  You know President Trump’s a fighter.  I don’t need to tell you Anderson, you know him very well.
 
He’s a fighter.  And I think he looks at this as a fight and I think he’s going to be very aggressive.  I think he’s going to start giving interviews and I think he’s going to really try to push this.
 
And look, we’re just in a time and I think democracy has never been stronger in American.  We just had 113 million vote in the midterm elections.  I think -- we are divided but I think division is good and healthy because people have to argue out and have to -- have to kind of fight at the ballot box for what they believe in.
 
And I think the country is very engaged in this political process.  I do think this year is going to be very vitriolic and I think we’re just going to have to work through this but I think the president of the United States and I think rightfully so that Donald Trump’s going to be very aggressive. 
 
And kind of pushing back on this -- what I think he believes is media hysteria around the investigation at the time entire time that he was actually putting everybody in the White House, everybody on the campaign front and center with all these documents and his lawyers to kind of work through this.
 
COOPER:  But -- but you know -- I mean listen, I understand the criticism of the media.  I think every reporter I know is constantly trying to look inward and look at their coverage and if something is wrong apologize for it and correct it as quickly as possible.  But at the same time, the president himself, while he may have been behind the scenes the people of the White House may have been behind the scenes providing all of the documents that they needed, publicly he certainly gave a lot of people a lot of reasons to scratch their heads and think, wait a minute. 
 
From interviews he gave, to tweets he sent, to things he said to the Russians in the Oval Office. He did provide a lot of the questions -- he certainly stoked it whether he meant to or not. 
 
BANNON:  Well, Anderson, but Mueller had all of this to go through. So I think he saw it. There is no collusion and if the atmosphere -- I think the president -- justifiably looked at -- and I said this from day one, after the '16 defeat, the Democratic Party was in such disarray, the mainstream media was on the position and during the campaign.  And I’m the one that came up with that term, and it was the opposition party media. 
 
I think instead of doing mea culpas or big inflections internally, one of the things that the media could do -- and I think this is a big issue for both conservative and liberal media, and this is the FBI's counterintelligence operation, and some of the CIA, what was done at the beginning of the investigation of the Trump campaign? I think it has really got to be looked into. 
 
I've said now, Anderson, over a year and a half I believe the like church commission is going to have to be established to look at the FBI’s behavior in this and the CIA -- and I would hope -- in the old days in the '70s, "New York Times" and "Washington Post" would lead the investigations, that is not happening. Maybe CNN will do it, but I think there is a lot there, and this is not to get partisan. I think this is for the good of the country.  
 
We have to look at -- I’m a huge supporter. I’ve never been a conspiracy guy, I’m a former naval officer, and my daughter is at West Point.  I’m not a deep state guy.
 
But we have some big problems.  I think we have to, in a bipartisan way, look at what these investigations were, particularly look at the start of the Trump -- investigation into the Trump thing, and I think really seriously question some of the FBI counterintelligence, and some of the CIA, and maybe even foreign intelligence services.  
 
And I think this is for the good of the country and for the good of the FBI and the CIA too.  But I would hope that that would be the next phase of investigations here.  
 
COOPER:  As to the question the vitriolic tone, which you mentioned, the president said recently something which I think a lot of people who don't like the president or distrust the president or are very concerned about, he said before an audience: I could tell you have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump, I have the tough people, but they don't play it tough until they get to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.  
 
How do you interpret that?  
 
BANNON:  I just think that’s -- I think it’s President Trump talking about the deplorables, talking about what about his base is, which is, as you know, a lot of veterans, a lot of people that served the country, a lot of people in law enforcement.  I don't think it’s anything pejorative.  I don’t think there’s anything that people get worried about.  
 
I think people read more into some of the president's statements sometimes in trying to read the tea leaves.  I think this is all -- although I do think the president is going to be pretty aggressive in his tweets, I think in some of his interviews, I think the way maybe he talks to some people at Congress.  I know he's not particularly happy with -- I think some investigations that may go into his -- the finances of the Trump Organization.  
 
I think his point is, hey, the American people had a chance to judge that in 2016.  We voted on it and then had this huge investigation into Russian collusion which turned out to be I think, honestly, kind of a hoax and we've gone through two years of that.  It costs million dollars, but more importantly, it’s the opportunity cost.  And now, it’s time to really get focused on the kind of move on.  
 
So I think very legitimate -- and I could tell you, Donald Trump is a fighter and he's going to fight on this one.  And so, I just think it’s time -- and all of these other investigations about his finances and all of this stuff, I think the American people are eventually going to say, hey, look, you're grasping at straws here.  You know, if you don't like the guy and I think Nancy Pelosi said this the other day, go beat him at the ballot box in 2020.  If you think orange man bad, right, and then get organized and get out there and do the kind of effort like you did in 2018 and defeat him in the way that you should -- you know, which we have in the United States.  
 
COOPER:  Yes.
 
BANNON:  If you want to win, win at the ballot box, not in some sort of investigative apparatus to do that.  

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