Even on the outs, former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon hints he has the inside scoop. That includes information on the US strategy to win the trade war with China, the Mueller investigation and the 2020 presidential election.
“I don’t want to talk about my conversations with the president,” he said when asked if he spoke regularly with the president.
RELATED: Donald Trump and Steve Bannon
Donald Trump and Steve Bannon
Donald Trump and Steve Bannon
US President Donald Trump (L) congratulates Senior Counselor to the President Stephen Bannon during the swearing-in of senior staff in the East Room of the White House on January 22, 2017 in Washington, DC.
(MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump (L-R), is joined by Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Vice President Mike Pence, senior advisor Steve Bannon, Communications Director Sean Spicer and National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, as he speaks by phone with Russia's President Vladimir Putin in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 28, 2017. Jonathan Ernst: "Very early in the Trump administration, weekends were as busy as weekdays. On Trump's second Saturday the official schedule said he would be making private phone calls to a number of world leaders including Russia's Vladimir Putin. I arrived early and, before sitting down at my desk walked up to Press Secretary Sean Spicer's office. He, too, was just taking his coat off. I gingerly made the suggestion that previous administrations had sometimes allowed photos of such phone calls through the Oval Office windows on the colonnade. To my mild shock, he didn't even think about it twice. "We'll do it!" he said. In truth, I really only expected the Putin call, but we were outside the windows multiple times throughout the day as the calls went on."
U.S. President Donald Trump talks to chief strategist Steve Bannon during a swearing in ceremony for senior staff at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 22, 2017.
Trump advisers Steve Bannon (L) and Jared Kushner (R) listen as U.S. President Donald Trump meets with members of his Cabinet at the White House in Washington, U.S., June 12, 2017.
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump (C) and campaign CEO Steve Bannon (R) listen to National Park Service Interpretive Park Ranger Caitlin Kostic (2nd R) on a brief visit to Gettysburg National Military Park in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, U.S. October 22, 2016.
U.S. President Donald Trump (L-R), joined by Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Vice President Mike Pence, senior advisor Steve Bannon, Communications Director Sean Spicer and National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, speaks by phone with Russia's President Vladimir Putin in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 28, 2017.
U.S. President Donald Trump signs a memorandum to security services directing them to defeat the Islamic State in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 28, 2017. Pictured with him are White House senior advisor Steve Bannon (L-R), National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, Vice President Mike Pence, Deputy National Security Advisor K. T. McFarland, National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, National Security Council Chief of Staff Keith Kellogg and senior advisor Kellyanne Conway.
Trump advisor Steve Bannon (L) watches as US President Donald Trump greets Elon Musk, SpaceX and Tesla CEO, before a policy and strategy forum with executives in the State Dining Room of the White House February 3, 2017 in Washington, DC.
(BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Senior Advisor Jared Kusher, White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon and President Donald Trump arrive at the start of a meeting with Senate and House legislators, in the Roosevelt Room at the White House, February 2, 2017 in Washington, DC. Lawmakers included in the meeting were Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA).
(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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A source close to the administration told Yahoo Finance that President Trump is still angry with Bannon, who he fired in August 2017. At the time, President Trump said Bannon had nothing to do with his Presidency, adding, “…when he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind.” But the same source who says the president holds a grudge, also says that Bannon speaks regularly with key administration officials like National Security Advisor John Bolton and trade advisor Peter Navarro.
“I do everything through lawyers except if there’s guys at the White House I know,” Bannon said.
And what Bannon knows may be the end game for the China trade war: ending the forced transfer of technology from US to Chinese businesses as well as opening China’s markets to American businesses.
A recent speech by Chinese President XI Jinping, in which he said the Chinese may have to return to self-reliance to grow China’s technology sector, may be a kind of “who blinked first?” in the trade tiff according to Bannon. “We have to go back to self-reliance. Why? The west is now stopping the intellectual property theft but more importantly stopping the forced technology transfers” and protecting America’s tech sector, which Bannon says will lead to more jobs for US citizens.
Bannon insists the Trump trade agenda aligns with his philosophy of economic nationalism, protecting the existing jobs of middle class and low-income workers while creating new manufacturing jobs so they can climb the economic ladder.
“The core of economic nationalism is we can’t be a great nation and serve our citizens particularly the working class with service jobs. It just doesn’t work,” he said.
The Trump agenda faces a few hurdles including a House of Representatives controlled by Democrats and the ongoing Mueller investigation. Bannon expects it to conclude later this month or in early December. But it will be just the start of new political headaches for the administration when the 116th Congress convenes in January.
Bannon expects potential Democratic candidates vying for their party’s nomination will force Donald Trump even further to the right. He also predicts Michael Bloomberg will attempt to find a more moderate conservative to also run for president. Bannon suspects that will embolden Democrats to think they can win the White House in 2020.
“They’re gonna look at this election as the election of 1860 where you’re gonna have two sides on the right,” he said. “They’re gonna go do the math and think, ‘Hey, we can, we can, we can.'”