The Note: Trump and Bannon's bromance is broken. Will they rebound?

Trump can’t lose Bannon. And Bannon can’t lose Trump.

January 4, 2018, 6:15 AM

— -- The TAKE with Rick Klein

Steve Bannon can lose his job. He can, as President Donald Trump asserts he already has, lose his mind. He can surely lose his pull as a recruiter of candidates. But Trump can’t lose Bannon. And Bannon can’t lose Trump.

Trumpism and Bannonism are already linked inextricably, by virtue of Trump’s election to the presidency, and some of the high and low points of his first year in office.

The president forges alliances that are often temporary, but they shape his direction in permanent ways. (As for leaving the Trump orbit - how long before president dials up Bannon again, just to chat?)

The president would have every right to be upset about the insinuations about his son-in-law’s lack of political acumen, or the suggestion that his son committed “treason” in meeting with Russians. Trump may have been most bothered by the depiction of him, in Michael Wolff’s new book, as less than bright.

One big legacy Bannon leaves the president after this public break? He is helping legitimize an investigation that the White House, the congressional Republican hierarchy, and conservative media outlets – Bannon’s Breitbart included – have been doing their best to tear down.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

It was not news that the president likes McDonald’s fast food or that various top strategists aggressively fought for power and influence in the early days of the administration.

We knew top Trump campaign staffers were surprised by the 2016 election results and the transition was frenetic and haphazard at times.

Still, the personal anecdotes and intimate details offered in Michael Wolff’s new book paint a damning, pejorative portrait of this president and his team. They color in an unflattering outline that in many ways already existed from numerous rumors and other stories over the past year.

Maybe that’s why the White House felt the need to engage so swiftly and resolutely. Accusations of an utterly dysfunctional West Wing, chaos that was easily taken advantage of, the family’s political naiveté, and a neurotic commander in chief (or, worse, an unintelligent one) were just too much to handle. Especially considering this time they seemed to be coming from insider sources like Steve Bannon, Roger Ailes and former White House staff, who are much harder to dismiss.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders called it "tabloid fiction."

It is not hard to imagine that the president and his family are sensitive about these portrayals, especially since they keep coming up.

The TIP with John Parkinson

Did President Donald Trump really not know who former Speaker of the House John Boehner was when Fox News executive Roger Ailes suggested he make him his White House chief of staff? The conversation, described in a new book on the Trump campaign and beginning of the presidency, has led many to question the president's awareness -- but is it true?

A spokesperson for Boehner, R-Ohio, finds it unlikely -- calling it instead an “odd anecdote” or a “joke of some sort,” adding “if in fact it happened at all.”

“As you recall, Speaker Boehner and President Trump are anything but strangers, and in fact know each other well,” the spokesperson told ABC News.

“As the Speaker has mentioned on any one of a number of occasions, they became friends and (to use Boehner’s term) 'texting buddies' during Boehner’s speakership, following a number of rounds of golf together,” the spokesperson said in a message.

The spokesperson described those occasions in which Boehner and the president spoke or spent time together -- including a luncheon following the inauguration and again when Trump was considering a veto on a government funding bill, which Boehner suggested he sign and which the president eventually did.

While Boehner did make a stir last year with some candid remarks about the first months of the Trump presidency, which he later moved to clarify, the former Speaker of the House voted for the president and has been consistent in his praise of Trump's economic decisions.


  • Today, the Virginia State Board of Elections will decide whether Democrat Shelly Simonds or Republican David Yancey wins a tied race for Virginia delegate -- by picking a name from a bowl.
  • President Trump will meet with two groups of Republican senators today to discuss immigration and 2018 legislative priorities.
  • Later, the president presents the National Security Medal to Richard Ledgett Jr., former Deputy Director of the National Security Agency.

    “Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad [expletive], and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately,” Steve Bannon is quoted as saying of the legal implications of the June 2016 meeting according to author Michael Wolff. His upcoming book chronicles the administration from Election Day to this past October.


  • Trump attorney sends Bannon cease and desist letter over 'disparaging.' comments. Lawyers on behalf of President Donald Trump sent a letter Wednesday night to former White House Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon demanding he refrain from making disparaging comments against the president and his family. (John Santucci)
  • FBI Director, Deputy Attorney General meet with Speaker Ryan about Trump-Russia dossier requests. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Chris Wray came to Capitol Hill Wednesday evening for a meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan to discuss the House Intelligence Committee's investigation into the Department of Justice's handling of the controversial dossier alleging links between President Donald Trump and Russia. (Pierre Thomas and Benjamin Siegel)
  • Trump dissolves commission investigating his unproven claims of voter fraud. President Donald Trump has dissolved the presidential commission created to investigate his unproven claims that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 election. (Jordyn Phelps)
  • Trump says Bannon ‘lost his mind’ after he was fired. President Donald Trump hit back at Steve Bannon in scathing comments on Wednesday saying that when his former White House chief strategist was fired "he not only lost his job, he lost his mind". (Alexander Mallin)
  • Manafort sues DOJ, Rosenstein, Mueller. Indicted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort filed suit Wednesday against the Justice Department, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Special Counsel Robert Mueller in federal court in Washington, D.C. (Jack Date)
  • Timeline of Mitt Romney's political career amid potential run in Utah. Mitt Romney may be edging back onto the national political stage, and it wouldn't be the first time that he's made a comeback. (Meghan Keneally)
  • What does Trump's 'nuclear button' really mean. President Trump doesn't really have a "nuclear button" on his desk to launch nuclear missiles, but if needed, he can do so on short notice from anywhere. (Luis Martinez)
  • Minnesota's Tina Smith replaces Al Franken in Senate, marking record number of 22 female senators. There are a record number of women serving in the U.S. Senate now that Democrat Tina Smith, the former lieutenant governor of Minnesota, has been sworn in as a U.S. senator representing that state. (Veronica Stracqualursi)
  • Democrat Doug Jones sworn in. After a contentious political season rife with issues ranging from sexual misconduct allegations and bitter partisan sparring, Democrats Doug Jones was sworn in Wednesday as the next senator from Alabama. (Mariam Khan)
  • ABC News’ Dan Harris: How meditation helps me handle angry political news. Dan Harris offers simple steps to give meditation a try.
  • “Donald Trump didn’t want to be president. One year ago: the plan to lose, and the administration’s shocked first days.” A story adapted from Michael Wolff’s book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” was published in New York Magazine.
  • The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the key political moments of the day ahead. Please check back tomorrow for the latest.

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