Is Trump Mulling Peter Thiel for a Top Intelligence Advisory Post? - 2017-09-20
It was one of the worst days in the short life of Donald Trump's administration—an administration that has not known many good days. But, as it turned out, the afternoon of July 12 was the time I'd scheduled an appointment with Steve Bannon, the man who, a month later, would leave his post as the president's chief strategist. And as I walked through the West Wing, the simmering distress was unmistakable.
In an alcove, National-Security Adviser H. R. McMaster huddled with Reince Priebus, the soon-to-be-ex chief of staff. Jay Sekulow, the public face of President Trump's legal team, furiously checked his cell phone. While aides conferred on an outdoor patio, brows furrowed, a top White House adviser took me aside and gravely confided, "The situation is even worse than you can imagine." But I was not there to discuss the latest bombshell: the revelation that Donald Trump Jr. had hosted a previously undisclosed meeting with some shadowy Russians. No, every other reporter in the nation's capital was already pursuing that story.
Instead, I had come to discuss another subject entirely. And Bannon, seeing me lingering in a hallway, popped out of a conference room and shepherded me into his office—at the time a virtual command center for the Trump Revolution, just steps from the Oval. To some, Bannon—intense, brooding, and sardonic—was the intellectual architect of a stunning election upset; to others, he was a persistent dog whistle who riled up Trump's base and America's basest instincts. But in the White House that week, few cast a longer shadow.