Video: Jeffrey Toobin – Steve Bannon Took Trump Supporters for Marks, Suckers, and Patsies!

 Dear Commons Community,

CNN’s chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin on Thursday evening highlighted the Trump administration’s “extraordinary record of sleaze” as he broke down what is “so revealing” about the arrest of former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.

Bannon and three others were arrested earlier Thursday on federal fraud charges, accused of stealing money donated to a “We Build The Wall” online crowdfunding campaign.

Bannon, who also served as a top aide on President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, pleaded not guilty Thursday afternoon.

Toobin, appearing on CNN’s “Outfront,” told host Erin Burnett that “what makes this case so revealing is that it shows the contempt with which Bannon views his own supporters, views the people who were supporting the wall.”

“They are marks, they are suckers, they are patsies to pay money for this wall project that all they’re doing, at least according to the indictment,” the commentator explained.

Toobin also predicted a further problem for Bannon.

Bannon “is the most famous of the four defendants, that is just an invitation to one or more of the others to flip, to plead guilty and cooperate,” said Toobin. “Because in federal court, defendants are rewarded strongly for cooperating against other defendants and Bannon looks like he’s got nowhere to cooperate.”

Burnett noted how Bannon was “just the latest” Trump associate to be charged with a crime.

“What does it say to you?” she asked Toobin.

“It’s just extraordinary,” he replied. “There hasn’t been a presidency like this since Watergate. And even in Watergate, you didn’t have a scenario like you’ve had here.”

For another take on the Bannon case, read Michelle Goldberg’s column entitled, Trumpism Is a Racket, and Steve Bannon Knew It.  Here is a quote:

“Shaggy, pretentious and endlessly cynical, Bannon presented himself as a man with a limbic connection to Trump’s base. But few people had more disdain for the members of the right-wing grass roots — whom Bannon sometimes referred to as “hobbits.”

In “The Brink,” a 2019 documentary about Bannon, there’s a scene in which he speaks to supporters in a modest living room stuffed with furniture and bedecked with crosses. As his small audience sits rapt, he lauds the room’s similarity to one in his grandmother’s house and pays homage to the “working-class, middle-class” people who make up nationalist movements everywhere.

Then he and a young man traveling with him walk out and step into their chauffeured car. “You couldn’t pay me a million dollars a year to live in that house,” sneers Bannon’s associate. They head to a private airport. Bannon starts to make a crack about the luxurious locale: “This is the populist …” Then he thinks better of it and shoves some popcorn into his mouth.

So it’s fitting that when Bannon on Thursday became the most recent member of Trump’s 2016 campaign staff to be arrested, it was on charges of defrauding gullible Trump supporters. According to a federal indictment, Bannon, along with his associates Brian Kolfage, Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea, ran a crowdfunding campaign, We Build the Wall, ostensibly to help fund Trump’s promised southern border barrier. The project became, said prosecutors, a source of personal enrichment.”

I would add that Fox News celebrities like Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham are in the same sphere.  They use Trump’s  “marks, suckers, and patsies” as a base to enrich themselves and their cable news company.


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