Michael Wolff, author of last year's explosive book about the Trump administration, "Fire and Fury," and the new release, "Siege: Trump Under Fire," dished about what he claims Steve Bannon told him about President Trump, in an interview Tuesday night with CNN's John Berman:
JOHN BERMAN, CNN: I want to ask you some specifics about what Steve Bannon said, again, on the record, because this is fascinating. This gets into the investigations into the president's businesses. There's been A suggestion the president's personal company is a "semi-criminal enterprise" and Bannon responded to you, I think we could drop the "semi" part. So was he joking or what do you think he meant there? Because you write that he did chuckle.
MICHAEL WOLFF: I think that he's -- he's perfectly straightforward about this. And he's perfectly straightforward about, I think, the way that most people who have been around Donald Trump believe. They believe that, you know, Donald Trump's long career has been a -- well, I would say, semi-criminal career. Steve Bannon would say, lose the semi.
BERMAN: So does he have direct knowledge of that, do you think, or just suspected at this poinT?
WOLFF: I think he probably has -- yeah, I suspect he does have direct knowledge of that.
BERMAN: Do you think Steve Bannon believes the president obstructed justice?
WOLFF: Um -- yes. Now, I would say that Steve Bannon would go and characterize this as "that's Donald Trump." So, the Steve Bannon view is partly, you know what this guy is, there's never been any -- any illusion otherwise. He's Donald Trump. That's the man you elected. A man who cannot literally can not tell the truth. At one point in the book, Steve says -- I described Steve as saying, "I cannot tell you how many times he has looked me in the eye and lied to me."
BERMAN: Yet, he's still devoted to him in some ways?
WOLFF: Well, he's still -- it's a weird devotion. It's love-hate, or it's, you know, repulsion, attraction. You know, remember, Steve made Donald Trump the president, Donald Trump made, transformed Steve into a voice in the world.
BERMAN: Back to the obstruction issue. The reason I was asking if you think Steve Bannon thinks the president obstructed justice, is because you write Bannon saying, "never send a marine to do a hitman's job." And he's talking about Robert Mueller. And I wasn't sure what that meant.
WOLFF: I think I can explain.
BERMAN: Did he want Mueller to catch him?
WOLFF: I -- he doesn't want -- he didn't -- it depends, I think, on the moment of the day.
BERMAN: Sometimes he wanted Mueller to catch him?
WOLFF: I think sometimes he believed he would catch him. That it was inevitable. You know, but what he literally meant, and it's really interesting, because I think it goes to the heart of where Mueller is now, what we think of this investigation. Mueller is a guy who is an institutional guy. He defends the institution. He's not going to -- if -- I think if the choice became, for Bob Mueller, give Donald Trump a pass or risk Donald Trump pulling the temple down, I think he would give Donald Trump a pass.
BERMAN: And you write that. You write that very clearly. Just in closing, what do you want people to take from this book in and apart from the first one?
WOLFF: This is -- I think that it gets crazier and crazier, that Donald Trump is more isolated, more alone, that as we see this -- there's often this -- this -- we let it seem that Donald Trump is this dominant personality. I think this is the story of a meltdown, one of the greatest political meltdowns of all time.
BERMAN: Where do you think it ends?
WOLFF: In tears.
BERMAN: Whose tears?
WOLFF: Donald Trump's tears.
BERMAN: Where does Steve Bannon think it ends?
WOLFF: There. Let's put it this way, I said to Steve, I referred to the possibility of Trump getting another term, winning the election, and Steve said, "stop."