Bannon leaves White House amid growing scrutiny over dangerous, bizarre past


After Steve Bannon's sudden departure from the Trump administration, Rachel Maddow highlighted Shareblue Media's explosive report on his drug and porn den in Florida, as she detailed just how strange it was that Bannon was in the White House in the first place.

"We never saw a president choose a chief strategist."

Presidential historian Michael Beschloss made this point to MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on her show Friday night, after Maddow spent much of the hour attempting to make sense of not just Steve Bannon's sudden — though supposedly planneddeparture from the White House, but also his presence there in the first place.

Highlighting the many sordid details of Bannon's past and present, including Shareblue Media's explosive exclusive report on the Florida house Bannon owned which was little more than a drug-infested porn studio, Maddow made it even clearer how disturbing it was that someone like him had the ear of the president, in a White House role crafted just for him.

Prior to his life as Donald Trump's right hand man, Bannon's exploits included his numerous bizarre films — including a "documentary" which essentially claimed that one of the men on the reality TV show "Duck Dynasty" may in fact be a prophet, and a soft-core film called The Steam Experiment, which portrays opposition to climate change as a sign of psychopathy.

Bannon also helped run a real-life experiment called Biosphere 2, which "set out to recreate life on another planet with eight people locked in a giant glass habitat" — and during which the participants alleged abusive behavior by Bannon, including openly stated disregard for their health and safety.

And of course, there were also the multiple domestic violence charges made against Bannon by his then wife, whom he intimidated out of testifying, thus succeeding in having the charges dropped.

Putting that history alongside Shareblue Media's thoroughly disturbing investigation of the Florida "party house" Bannon owned — where tenants made pornographic films, cooked methamphetamine, and destroyed the bathtub with some type of acid or chemical exposure — and Bannon's time running Breitbart News, to which he has swiftly returned,  as well as his blatant white nationalism, it paints a highly troubling picture.

"There are a lot of people who were weird choices in the Trump campaign," Maddow declared, "and in the Trump administration once they won. People who just don't make sense in terms of where they came from and where they ended up."

But most of those people, she noted, at least shared the common thread of having ties to Russia — certainly disturbing in and of itself, in the current political context.

"But with Steve Bannon — he's the 'weird tie' himself," Maddow noted. Before joining the Trump campaign, Bannon had used his seat at Breitbart to do "everything in his power" to unseat various high-level Republicans like former Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor and former House Speaker John Boehner.

And that work was funded in part by Robert Mercer, who also ran a Super PAC supporting Trump's candidacy, after their favored candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, dropped out — and whom Bannon met with immediately before his departure from the administration.

So Bannon's presence in the White House seemed to make little sense at all — a fringe outsider with no political background and with a whole truckload of baggage coming along with him.

And now, back on his Breitbart perch, Bannon will be able to twist his previous antagonism against other Republican officials into an effort to push Trump into doing the bidding of the white supremacist base — something Trump has signaled loudly and clearly that he is willing and able to do.

None of this is even close to normal, and it will be crucial to continue this scrutiny of Bannon, and of Trump's continued connection to him, even now that Bannon has left the administration — and even if the Oval Office sees a change in management.

Watch Maddow's segment below, and keep your eyes on Bannon. He may be out of the White House, but that doesn't mean he has left Trump's dangerous orbit.