Recruiting talent has also been a challenge. Several top Washington law firms passed, and Bannon’s first choice for the Lanny Davis role, conservative attorney and radio host Laura Ingraham, ultimately rebuffed him after several in-person meetings. “Defending against Russia is the worst duty you can pull in the Trump White House, an impossible job where you can’t make the boss happy,” says GOP strategist Liam Donovan.
Leading the fight while everyone else is frantically lawyering up is exactly the type of loyalty Trump demands, though, and Bannon is especially poised to deliver. Despite his portrayal as Trump’s Rasputin, Bannon’s return was prompted less by his own influence than by the president’s needs. Nobody has ever really had the power to control Trump for long — a fact beleaguered White House officials can agree on. Bannon is less “The Great Manipulator” than Trump’s indispensable henchman, the man he turns to when everything’s going to hell.
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