Narration: The U.S. and China just signed the phase one trade deal. What is the biggest takeaway from it?
Steve Bannon: Tariffs work, tariffs broke the CCP. It forced them to the table.
Narration: Taiwan just elected a new president,
Steve Bannon: I think it shocked everybody of how big a landslide it was.
Simone Gao: Do you think that was a referendum on the CCP?
Steve Bannon: Yes, it was 100%.
Narration: Iranian General Soleimani was killed by American drone strikes. Who had been providing financial support to his terrorist operations?
Steve Bannon: To me, the, the decisive factor there is the Chinese communist party because that’s essentially keeping them alive.
Narration: Nancy Pelosi sent the impeachment articles to the Senate. What’s in play next?
Steve Bannon: Either a complete dismissal because it didn’t reach the standards of impeachment or you go all in and have a trial that could take six months to a year.
Narration: I sat down with Steve Bannon to talk about the U.S.-China phase one trade deal, Impeachment, Taiwan election and Soleimani’s death. And just how many of these things have connections to the Chinese Communist Party.
Host: I am Simone Gao and you are watching Zooming In.
Title: Bannon: Ukraine Is a Sideshow, the Main Thing Is the Chinese Communist Party
Simone Gao: Thank you very much Mr. Bannon for being with us again on Zooming In.
Steve Bannon: Thanks for having me.
Simone Gao: Okay. Taiwan election, Taiwan just elected a new president. Is the result what you expected?
Steve Bannon: I think it shocked everybody of how big a landslide it was. Remember, in the United States, we knew this was going to be very tough. There are so many people that support the freedom and democracy movement in Taiwan. And I think what people were most concerned about was the Chinese communist party trying to put their hand on the scale and trying to tilt it in their direction. Also, Terry Guo. People were very concerned when Terry Guo got into the race. I Understand he got beaten in the primary, but people thought it was going to be a very, very tough race. So number one, the turnout, the enthusiasm, and the results of 57%. I mean, in the United States, we consider that a landslide,
Simone Gao: Right.
Steve Bannon: So it was an incredible result and it really got the attention of so many people in the United States of America and particularly in DC, that people realize that the people of Taiwan want their independence and they want their freedom.
Simone Gao: Do you think that was a referendum on the CCP?
Steve Bannon: Yes, it was, 100%. If you look at what’s happened in the last few months between the vote in Hong Kong at the municipal level, at the council level, and then this stunning victory in Taiwan…we look at that..I think people in the West, and particularly the United States, look at it as a proxy on a rejection of President Xi and the Chinese communist party. People want their freedom. And it’s pretty obvious. And I think that the…I was doing many live streams and broadcasts into Taiwan over the last few months in support of the president. In 2020 there’s two big elections or three big elections, Taiwan Israel and in the United States. And I don’t know which one’s the biggest one, but I gotta tell you it was a shocking victory. I always thought they would win, but I thought it’d be much closer. But the turnout and the victory margin I think really sent a message throughout the world.
Simone Gao: So what’s next for the U S Taiwan relations? Do you think the U S and Taiwan will move towards establishing formal diplomatic relations?
Steve Bannon: I hope so. I think there’s a big effort right now here in Washington, D C and throughout the country, of this kind of reawakening to the importance of Taiwan and our long term friendship with Taiwan and also with the people of Hong Kong and I think you’re going to see a lot of movement (in that direction). And I believe the first thing you’ll see is a lot more Americans going to Taiwan and getting to know the people and reconnecting. So I think there’s going to be tremendous…particularly when you see what’s happening in Beirut, what’s happening in Baghdad or on the streets, and what’s happening in Taiwan. You see this kind of (situation where) the millennials are now in what looks like global revolt against the dictatorships, whether it’s the Mullahs, Hezbollah or the Chinese communist party. So I anticipate that you’re going to have a real sense of momentum here for US-Taiwan relationships. And that’s why the Chinese communist party wanted to defeat the president. It was very obvious that they were making…trying to have a real influence operation that changed the direction of that election.
Simone Gao: So if Trump wins a second term…
Steve Bannon: I would like to say now “when”” Trump wins a second term.
Simone Gao: That’s funny. So if that’s the case, to what extent do you think the CCP will have influence over US policy towards Taiwan? Because the U S policy toward Taiwan before Trump was always kind of relying on the U S relationship with China.
Steve Bannon: Remember, President Trump won the election here because of the rejection of the elites in the United States and about this managed decline. The elites in the United State were very comfortable with the managed decline of the country. And that’s why from the Southern border to the relationship with the middle East to the relationship with our Asian allies and about the rise of the Chinese communist party…the Trump victory was a total rejection of that. President Trump has had to manage, as you know, many, many complicated relationships, including with the CCP, with the trade negotiations and also really with our whole of government kind of strategic confrontation with them. But I think you’re already starting to see, and I think you’ll even see more in the future, a strengthening of the relationship between Taiwan and the United States. It shouldn’t be lost on people and I’ve been saying this now for a while .the two biggest…besides the democratic party, also the Chinese communist party and the Mullahs in Tehran both want the defeat of president Trump. Now I don’t (mean to say) the democratic party is working together (with them) ecetera. They want to defeat Trump for a different set of reasons. But clearly the dictators in Beijing and the dictators in Tehran, don’t want to see a continuation of the Trump presidency.
Simone Gao: Right. Let’s talk about Soleimani. The media has been criticizing President Trump (by saying that) he’s not justified to authorize the killing of Soleimani,. And by doing so, he’s also risked dragging us to another Middle East war, while his whole thing is supposed to be about pulling us out of the middle East war. What do you think?
Steve Bannon: President Trump clearly had the authorization. Soleimani is the top of the terror list about killing Americans, and American troops. He was in on the IED’s and obviously he was plotting to do something with the embassy. They’d already started with the embassy. So the tactical mission of just taking Soleimani out, I don’t think anybody in the United States is questioning whether he’s a bad guy. And it should have been done. Now for political purposes they’re trying to kick up some dust, but you should know the bulk of the American people are saying, “Hey, Soleimani, General Soleimani was a very bad guy and was on the terrorist watch list”. I think the deeper issue is this confrontation of the Mullahs and the Chinese communist party that we’re seeing in Iran. President Trump’s economic warfare, and particularly getting our European allies to go along with the…not just the sanctions, but the secondary sanctions to choke down economically, the Mullahs. And I think this is going to have a big impact. To me the decisive factor there is the Chinese communist party because that’s what is essentially keeping them alive.
Simone Gao: I think part of the opposing narrative is about China. President Trump is supposed to be…The United State’s primary rival is China. So by still being involved in the middle East war does the US have enough…will the US be able to deal with the CCP challenge adequately?
Steve Bannon: It’s a great question. I think the way to look at this, and you could see that the CCP, what the CCP is trying to do, is expand exponentially to control the Eurasian landmass. Through one belt one road through “made in China 2025” through the 5G rollout with Huawei. Remember they’re doing this with…obviously they have North Korea, but I think both Iran, and I also say Turkey and now you see the beginnings of the Russia relationship. It shouldn’t be lost on you, Simone, that it was two weeks ago that China, Iran and Russia were doing Naval exercises in the North Arabian sea, in the straits of Hormuz. Right outside of the Persian Gulf. As they try to work together as a Naval force for the Mahan strategy of Naval warfare, in addition to what they’re trying to do of consolidating the European landmass.
Steve Bannon: So to me, this is central in the confrontation with the CCP and now we have a whole of government approach. Mike Pence has said this, Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State Pompeo said this, that we now have a real whole of government confrontation with the CCP. So the resources are there. It’s just to kind of think through the strategy. But people should realize that President Trump is very, very, very focused on the Western Pacific. He’s very focused on the South China sea. He’s very focused on what’s going on in the Eurasian landmass.
Simone Gao: So I think the worry is if the US gets dragged into regime change and nation building again, it won’t have enough energy to deal with the CCP challenge,
Steve Bannon: I will tell you the president Trump will not get into nation building again.
Steve Bannon: Realize that he continues to talk about the $7 trillion that we spent in the middle East already. He’s actually saying that we need to restructure our relationship with Afghanistan. What he’s going to do is confront these regimes, particularly where we have the high ground in technology, capital markets, currency and trade, right? (He’ll) Use economic and information warfare to really change their behaviors. I don’t know if he’s so much into regime change as (he is into) dramatic change of their behaviors. That is what you’re starting to see. You’re already seeing in the streets of Tehran where the young people are coming and supporting president Trump. The riots that Soleimani, the 1500 that they arrested a few weeks ago or actually killed I think over the last couple of weeks has come from Soleimani and the Republican guard, to put these protests down. So president Trump’s very savvy. That’s why he did a drone strike, a surgical drone strike to take out General Soleimani and remember some of the top leadership in the Shiite militias (as well).
Steve Bannon: So president Trump’s not going to…he’s too savvy and he understands. He does not want an overburden of commitments in the middle East because he’s very focused on what’s happening in China.
Simone Gao: And is that going to be enough to achieve what America wants to achieve without regime change, nation building and all that?
Steve Bannon: Well, I think it is. I believe you’re seeing a new system start to come up. And I think that’s (coming) from the young people. I think in Hong Kong, in Taiwan, in Beirut, in Tehran, in Baghdad…where you see people taking to the streets. I think you’re seeing young people and I think Hong Kong is a perfect example of that. In Taiwan where young people were saying, “Hey, what I want is I want freedom. I want Liberty, I want capitalism. I believe in self-reliance” right?
Steve Bannon: “We Have to work together as a community, but I want some freedom here and I want to actually have ownership, personal property rights. And above all, I want the rule of law, right? I don’t want…no more dictators, no more authoritarian governments”. That message is very powerful to me. That’s the Trump revolution. And I think you’re seeing it spread throughout the globe. And I think president Trump is adamant when he said…people in Taiwan and in Hong Kong, should understand that president Trump tweeted out in Farsi over the weekend, his support of those protesters in the street, nothing could be more powerful.
Simone Gao: I was going to ask you that. Like you said, the protest in Tehran. On Monday, thousands of Iranians took to the street to protest the government’s shooting down the Ukrainian aircraft. And that quickly spread to other things. So they’re burning Soleimani’s portrait and they’re chanting things like,”Soleimani is a murderer, Khamenei is a murderer. Things like that. And that’s very different from, just a week ago when the state media reported that 1 million Iranian people took to the street to…came out for Soleimani’s funeral in support of him. So how do you think? How do the Iranian people really feel?
Steve Bannon: Well, listen, as a young Naval officer, I was in the Pacific fleet in the seventh fleet. We were patrolling the South China sea and the East China sea and we were taken over in 1979-1980 and we were sent to Iran because of the hostage crisis. I’ve been there basically since 79 or 80. My destroyer was one part of a carrier battle group that went to the North Arabian Sea and eventually to the Persian Gulf to work up for the assault, the eventual assault in Tehran to free the 52 hostages. So we’ve been there for…I’ve been there for a long time. I think here’s the huge difference. The most important thing of those protests last week was not simply the burning of the picture of General Soleimani. They had the American flag and they had the flag of Israel that the regime had put down for people to stomp on, and the young millennials avoided it.
Steve Bannon: They would not step on the American flag. They would not step on the Israeli flag. They said, “our problem here that’s holding us back from our freedom is not the United States, It’s not Donald Trump. It is people like General Soleimani, It’s Khamenei”, the Supreme leader of the Islamic Republic. It is the Mullahs that have taken away their freedom, just like it’s the CCP in China. Remember, the Chinese people are the most hardworking, decent people on earth. This is not about the American people versus the Chinese people, this is not even about America versus China. The Chinese Communist Party, the CCP uses China and its people as an instrument for its own self-gratification and the building of its own wealth. So I think you’re starting to see the people, whether it’s in Beirut against Hezbollah, whether it’s in Hong Kong against the CCP, whether it’s in Taiwan against the CCP, whether it’s in Tehran against the Mullahs, you’re seeing people, and particularly young people say, “I don’t want to do this anymore. And I don’t want to hear their lies. What I want. I want them gone. I want Liberty, I want freedom. I want the rule of law. And I want capitalism”.
Simone Gao: So do you think Iran is on the verge of another revolution that could topple the regime?
Steve Bannon: Listen, I think over time. Clearly the brutal repression you’re going to see is…I think there’s 1500 demonstrators that have been killed in the month of November and December. There’s obviously going to be brutal repression like there’s brutal repression in Hong Kong, like there’s brutal repression in mainland China, in these big cities when anybody tries to get up to protest. So it’s not going to happen overnight. But you’re seeing a new day dawn, right? You’re seeing a new day Dawn. As they try to suppress it, as they try to crack down on it because of modern communications…And quite frankly, the courage and determination and grit…this is why I think the world owes so much to the young men and women in Hong Kong. They have shown such incredible courage in the face of adversity. They’ve shown such incredible courage in the face of suppression. They’ve shown such incredible courage in the face of the iron fist of the Chinese communist party. To me, they’d been an inspiration and I continued to call them…They are like the Patriots of 1775 and 1776 in the United States. They are truly, and I think that they’ll be remembered throughout history as a generation with just tremendous patriotism, o their countries and to really to the rule of law and to freedom.
Simone Gao: As you said, President Trump tweeted in Farsi and English in support of the protestors saying, “Iran, you cannot have a massacre against the protesters and do not shut down your internet”. It seems like the president is engaging the Iranian people and also separating the people and the regime. Do you think that’s a good move?
Steve Bannon: I think because he speaks…I think just like here in the United States where he had a…remember he had a direct connection to working class people in this country that the elites had kind of abandoned and didn’t think about anymore. As president Trump’s going around and giving those rally speeches where he’s just very, right to the heart. He understands this, I think he understands what’s going on in Taiwan, I think he’s understands what’s going on in Hong Kong. I think he understands what’s going on in Tehran. So I think you’ll see more of this. I just think Farsi was so unexpected, right? People’s heads here are blowing up and clearly the Mullahs understand that President Trump is watching this. The leadership in Tehran, these radical Mullahs that have kind of suppressed the people in Iran, and particularly in Tehran ought to understand, president Trump already took out one of your generals with a drone strike. Okay? He was vaporized. And now he’s directly communicating via modern social media directly to the protesters in the streets. They should be very worried.
Simone Gao: Talking about the potential Iranian retaliation. How do you compare the mindset Ali Khamenei and Osama bin Laden? Would Khamenei be contemplating something like a 911 against America on American soil?
Steve Bannon: Look, Iran is the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world. State-Sponsored terrorism. This is what they are. It was the Mullahs in Tehran that took our 52 hostages in 1979 and kept them for what, a year? Almost a year. They’re also the ones that take credit for blowing up the Marine barracks in Lebanon in 1983. So they’ve been engaged in war with the United States, to take as many casualties as possible for what, 40 some years or almost 50 years. And they’re adamant all the time that America’s the “great Satan” America is the devil. America has to be destroyed. This is not language Donald Trump or Steve Bannon or other allies of freedom and democracy and the rule of law are saying. This comes from their own lips. The other day they said, America has to be destroyed and that American is the great enemy.
Steve Bannon: So we always have to be on watch. We had to be on watch with ISIS. But remember, president Trump destroyed the physical caliphate within one year. Mosul, Raqqa, the whole physical caliphate. They had 8 million people enslaved. They had oil fields, had tax revenues, they were recruiting what, 20,000 people a month out of Europe…beheading people…putting Christians in cages like animals and then beheading them. Torturing Muslims that didn’t agree with them. And he killed al-Baghdadi with a drone strike. He understands and I think that’s why America is on guard. And at the first movement that general Soleimani was planning on something on the embassy… And people in your listening audience ought to understand that what Trump said is “No more Benghazi’s”. No Benghazi’s on his watch, and he’s also going to be proactive. And if you’re on the terror watch list, you better be concerned. Instead of worrying about killing Americans or Europeans or other Muslims in the middle East, you ought to be concerned about your own life because if you’re on the terror watch list, president Trump is going to come after you.
Simone Gao: So you’re saying the Supreme leader of Iran is not any more benign than Osama bin Laden. So the question is…
Steve Bannon: They have bragged for many years that through Hezbollah…remember they control essentially the capitols of Baghdad, Damascus and Beirut and now Yemen. They’re a massive exporter of…Hezbollah is an expeditionary military force for them. They try to get this arc to the sea and a Shiite caliphate. But the Supreme leader in Iran, all the way from the fall of the Shah of Iran, they have not been shy about saying…the Islamic Republic of Iran…they’re the biggest leader of state-sponsored terrorism.
Simone Gao: But Iran’s economy is very weak. So at this moment, do you think they’re crazy enough to really contemplate a war, like a real war against America?
Steve Bannon: I think they were very upfront the other night when they shot the missiles and obviously didn’t want to hit anything. They do not want a physical war with United States. Number one, people in the United States are not looking for a war. We do not want to engage in more combat, but we will defend ourselves. And I think if they tried to, if they’d killed a lot of soldiers, if they had come and tried to inflict damage on our embassies…President Trump has been up front, he would have hit and he would have hit hard. And that’s coming from president Trump and the people around him. He’s not shy about saying, “Hey, we will defend…there won’t be any more Benghazi’s”. President Trump will defend American assets and he’ll defend American people. And it looks to me like the Mullahs waved off of that.
Steve Bannon: They understand president Trump. If he was prepared to take out General Soleimani in a drone strike, he’s prepared to inflict damage upon them. And I think they…I think they essentially waved off that. Now we’re anticipating that some of their militias or some of these underground sleeper cells or whatever, may try to hit American allies or people around the world. And that’s what we have to be always on watch for. But this is something I think that day in and day out people are on watch for because the Iranians have been doing this for 40 years. It didn’t happen overnight.
Simone Gao: Where is China in all of this? Does China want the U S and the Iran getting into a real war?
Steve Bannon: Well the Chinese communist party? I don’t think there’s any doubt…Look number one, the Iranians are a subsidiary of China right now.
Steve Bannon: It’s the Chinese purchase of oil and the Chinese credit facilities that are keeping the Mullahs on life support. So the Chinese communist party I think…and they look at their expansion plans with one belt, one road to try to consolidate their control over the Eurasian landmass. Iran is essentially their junior partner. And so the Chinese communist party…I think they need to be called out on this. I think that they need…that the sanctions…that the first thing we have to sanction is we have to sanction any oil that’s going to the CCP. That all oil must be cut off, that all credit facilities must be cut off. You really have to quarantine the regime in Tehran. And so I think the Chinese communist party is up to their neck in supporting the Mullahs in Iran.
Simone Gao: But if the US and Iran get into a war. It will impact the oil and they will be impacted too. So I wonder…
Steve Bannon: But I think you can do that without getting into a physical war. Like I said, I don’t think…first of all President Trump is the least trigger happy president we’ve had in many, many decades. He’s very prudent. Remember before the strike…he’s only had a couple of strikes. In Syria to counter the chemical weapons against al-Baghdadi, the head of ISIS and against Soleimani, basically the field commander of the…not just the Quds force, but really the field commander of all the Iranian exportation of the expeditionary force in terrorism throughout the middle East. So he’s been very selective. President Trump is not somebody that’s gonna go in and start shooting, I don’t believe, and start shooting up a place unless we’ve been attacked or there’s been some attempt of an attack. And listen, it’s quite evident after president Trump directed this hit, that the counter (from Iran) was so weak because they tried to stay out and make sure there was no damage. They sent a very strong signal. We do not want to get in a shooting war with the United States. I don’t think for your viewers or your readers that we have to worry about that right now. I think that what President Trump has done…the next day he sent the secretary of treasury and Pompeo to say, “I’m increasing the sanctions and I’m going to kick in secondary sanctions”.
Simone Gao: So in that sense, how do you compare the policies of President Bush, president Obama and president Trump in the middle East?
Steve Bannon: Well you can’t compare it. Bush…And this is not about Republicans and Democrats. Bush and Obama essentially…Bush buried the United States in the middle East. The war in Afghanistan to me…we should have gone in and cleaned out the Taliban and then left. And the same thing in Iraq. We never should have invaded Iraq. I think that was ridiculous, particularly on this misleading information. But the Republican establishment and Bush got us in there. Obama essentially reinforced it to a large extent and really didn’t make any real bold moves. Particularly he allowed the rise of ISIS, which should have been decapitated immediately. I think president Trump very succinctly came in…remember the very first thing he did is went to Riyadh and had a conference to try to pull everybody together.
Steve Bannon: So everybody’s trying to stop the spread of radical Islamic terrorism. Not just in Europe or the United States, but also throughout the middle East. In addition, trying to stand up and confront Iran. He tore up the JCPOA because they had been cheating and it was a terrible deal. And so president Trump said, “I’m not going to do this, and we’re going to stop the expansion of Hezbollah. We’re going to stop the expansion of these expeditionary forces and these terror forces throughout the world. So number one I’m going to take down the physical caliphate of ISIS” which he did, which was extraordinary. And he killed General Soleimani and he’s engaged in a full economic war with Tehran. But I don’t think your viewers should worry too much that President Trump is going to get engaged in a big land war in the middle East. That’s just not gonna happen. He’s stated that many times. It’s not gonna let that happen.
Simone Gao: So the bottom line is, would you say, the American people are not for nation building, regime change, that kind of stuff, but they will be with the president on those surgical operations that the president does.
Steve Bannon: Well not just the surgical…I think it’s deeper than that. I think the American people very much support the young people in Hong Kong, of what they’re trying to do for the rule of law. I think they support the people in Beirut, the young people in Beirut.
Simone Gao: So regime change is…
Steve Bannon: Well if regime change has to come…Look, I’m considered a super Hawk as you know, in the United States, right? There’s hawk and then super Hawk, right? I’m a super Hawk and proud of it. But I continue to say the only people who are going to take down the CCP are the Chinese people. Right? And that’s why the Taiwan situation was so powerful. With all the pressure that came in on her party…with all the pressure from the Koumingtang and others from the CCP to defeat her, you had a landslide victory. That speaks volumes of where the people in Taiwan are. Look at the kids in Hong Kong, nobody has backed off. They continue to protest and they continue to say, “we need the rule of law and we need the five demands met”. You see that in Beirut. You see that in Baghdad. You’re seeing it in Tehran and so the American people understand. What do they support? The American people support freedom. They support Liberty, they support democracy, and they support the rule of law. But they understand that has to come from the people. We can’t do another exercise like we did in Afghanistan. We’re there for 18 years and it looks like we’re trying to force a model onto people that may not want that. It has to come from the people, the indigenous people in these countries.
Simone Gao: Let’s talk about impeachment a little bit. House speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would hand over the impeachment articles this week to the Senate. What do you think will happen?
Steve Bannon: Well, I think today she’s meeting with her caucus and tomorrow they’re going to vote. For your audience (it is important) to understand this was (characterized as)”so urgent”, and had to be done before the Christmas holidays, right? She had to put us in a constitutional crisis. Why? She said president Trump was a clear and present danger. He was a clear and present danger and had to be impeached and removed from office immediately. Yet. She’s held these now for almost a month. Okay. Why did she hold those? She didn’t have the evidence and she wanted to basically interrupt his state of the union address. And so on (waiting before) handing it over, she was scrambling to get new information, new data, new witnesses that could come forward because she doesn’t have a case and she understands that her case in the House was all made or hearsay in a 100% partisan vote. In fact, she didn’t even keep her own caucus.
Steve Bannon: There were two members. One, a senior member that’s a chairman of the agriculture committee from Minnesota, didn’t vote for it at all. And, and another individual voted (against impeachment and) then shifted parties. He was so outraged and disgusted about what they had done. So Nancy Pelosi has been running this game, right? And not that Nancy Pelosi is not very smart. She’s very smart and very tough, but she didn’t have the evidence and so she’s trying to slow walk this so she could get more evidence. And now you’re going to see it handed over to the Senate this week. And we’ll see (one of) three things. Number one, if it’s dismissed outright. Number two, if there’s some (kind of) short trial where some limited evidence is brought in, or number three, which I’m recommending: a deep long trial with lots of witnesses and lots of witnesses that the president calls.
Simone Gao: This is Nancy Pelosi’s explanation. She said by holding the articles of impeachment for the last few weeks, the house was able to make the American public see the need for more witnesses. So is she right? I mean, do more Americans now want to see witnesses?
Steve Bannon: I don’t think so. I think what she wanted was she had to have time to get more evidence. She wanted to go on and get more emails. She wanted to get even additional witnesses. Remember they impeached him already on two articles of impeachment. She should have been very comfortable to go immediately. And if he was such a clear and present danger, and just go back to the day they voted, every speaker came up and said “he’s a clear and present danger” from the Democrats. “He Must be removed from office because he’s going to interfere with a foreign power in the 2020 election”. If that was the case she should’ve gotten it over that night and they should have already had the trial. She knows she didn’t have the evidence. He would be acquitted. In fact, he’d be more than acqitted,
Steve Bannon: He would be exonerated in front of the American people. And that’s what she didn’t want. So she’s been slow walking this to try to get more evidence. And I think, and I’ve been a big advocate, if you want witnesses, let’s get witnesses. Let’s bring in the whistleblower. Let’s bring in Hunter Biden. Let’s bring in Joe Biden. Let’s bring in Brennan, the CIA. Let’s bring it all so that people can see the rot and the corruption. And what you will see as part of this is why the elites in this country looked the other way and didn’t see the rise of the Chinese communist party.
Simone Gao: Mitch McConnell is seeking a speedy acquittal. Also I think he intends to have a process that’s similar to the impeachment trial of Bill Clinton for president Trump. And I think president Trump is sending out contradicting signals. People don’t know what he really wants. So do you think the president should agree with Mitch McConnell’s plan?
Steve Bannon: I do see the logic of what President Trump and many of the constitutional conservatives have said, that this should be dismissed out of hand. It was a sham process not run by the constitution. President Trump had no due process rights. So in one regard, people are saying (in order) to keep true to the constitution, this thing should be brought up and dismissed immediately with no Adam Schiff, no going back through the testimony, no trial whatsoever. That it doesn’t raise itself to the level of seriousness. And I think that that is a very serious argument. And the president has tweeted that out over the last couple of days. However, if you are not going to do that and you have determined for political reasons, because Nancy Pelosi is always going to try to smear you If you just dismiss it…If you decide to have a trial, you need to bring in witnesses. President Trump needs to be able to call his witnesses.
Steve Bannon: You need the whistleblower. You need Adam Schiff. I think you need Horowitz that did the IG report and you particularly need Hunter Biden and you need Joe Biden. You need those five witnesses at a minimum. And if those witnesses were ever to come forward and to be able to be examined and cross-examined under a penalty of perjury before the whole world and the well of the Senate, the support by the American people for President Trump I think would soar to 60, 70, 80% cause they would see the innate corruption of our elites.
Simone Gao: On the democratic side. One of the top witnesses they want to get is John Bolton. And he already said, “I would testify if subpoenaed”. But president Trump doesn’t want him to testify. What do you think…
Steve Bannon: It’s not president Trump. I think there’s something different here. Number one. I think if Bolton, if the president gets his witnesses, I would give them Bolton, Mulvaney and the other guys at OMB, all the emails, it wouldn’t make a difference. What the president said at the very beginning when we started our show “War Room” was that it was a perfect call and he kept saying, “unity and substance”. Substance is; the more granular you get, the more into the details you get, you understand it was perfect call. It’s what the American people hired him to do, not to ship their money over there until they were absolutely certain it going to be used in the right way. And that all the corruption that we could possibly get, particularly the exporting of American crony capitalism, as you saw through Biden and his son, right? At Burisma…until that was all vetted and to make sure that no money was going to go to that.
Steve Bannon: That’s what I think is so powerful. And that’s what I think is what president Trump has been very smart about doing. That’s why I wouldn’t care what Bolton has to say about this. I wouldn’t care what Mick Mulvaney, the head of OMB has to say about this. I wouldn’t care about Russell Vought the deputy of OMB, or any emails. When you offset that with the whistleblower and Biden and the IG report, people are going to understand that what they’ve been hiding is everything. And that’s what’s very important. And that’s where I think the president needs to get to. Now what the president has said (regarding John Bolton) is to protect the office of the president. Okay. There’s certain things about John Bolton because he was national security advisor that have to be protected under executive privilege. That’s not to protect Donald Trump, that’s to protect the office of the presidency. And that’s to protect presidents going forward. That your national security advisor, your close inner circle has to be able to have free and frank conversations with you, send you emails, texts, and have conversations that really can’t be divulged to the public.
Simone Gao: So if president Trump is acquitted, would that signify?
Steve Bannon: “When” He’s acquitted.
Simone Gao: That’s so funny. You always stress that point. So if that’s the case…
Steve Bannon: Well he will be acquitted. There’s no doubt about that. The question is, there’s acquittal and there’s an exoneration. What we believe is important, and we’ve been arguing for president Trump is; you get exonerated now and vindicated at the polls in November. Exoneration I think needs to come from either dismissal out of hand or go long trial and bring in witnesses. This middle ground I think is just playing games with the Democrats and to me you have all the power and you ought to do the right thing. Either a complete dismissal because it didn’t reach the standards of impeachment or you go all in and have a trial that could take six months to a year.
Simone Gao: So if president Trump is exonerated do you think this will signify a total failure on the Democrats or it would still have done some harm to his reelection chances.
Steve Bannon: They know they can’t remove president Trump from office. They don’t have the votes What they’re trying to do is, their (candidates for president) field is so weak. And what I would recommend to the, to the readers of the Epoch Times and the folks that go on your TV and watch your your live stream of Zooming in et cetera, is just to go look, go online and see the democratic party’s responses when asked questions about China or are asked questions about national security, it’s so immature. It sounds like they’re in seventh grade. Okay. The kind of happy talk they put out there is like, they’re not serious. And I think Nancy Pelosi is quite smart, understands that field as it is composed now is so weak. They’ll never be able to take on someone like Donald Trump in the fall of 2020 in the upper Midwest, in Michigan, in Pennsylvania, right? In Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio.
Steve Bannon: And so she’s got to damage Trump, and this is all part of the 2020 campaign. What they’re trying to do is damage and to smear president Trump and trying to damage him politically so that he is defeated in November. I happen to think the way she’s played this is an epic fail. And here’s why. She had a free shot on goal from about three or four weeks before the campaign, when the White House, ourselves and others started coming together and president Trump said “unity and substance”. I want all the details that come out and in that we’re going to get unity of the Republican party, which he’s clearly gotten. So I think that that has been one of the big game changers and I think we’re going to see that all the way through. You’re going to see a more united Republican party and more united in back of president Trump.
Simone Gao: So this has strengthened president Trump.
Steve Bannon: I think it is. President definitely strengthen president Trump in the, in the Republican party. And I think you’re starting to see people are tired of the opportunity costs related to, uh, related to, um, this impeachment process. We haven’t done US MCA, right? The, the, the following didn’t have to deal. We haven’t done prescription drug, uh, medication. We haven’t gotten to infrastructure. All the business of the people that really make your life better. Right? Nothing’s been accomplished because the house is totally obsessed with the Democrats are totally obsessed with impeaching president Trump. President Trump understands the American people understand this, that doesn’t have anything to do with their daily lives. This is this obsession to nullify the Trump presidency and that’s what they’ve been attempting to do.
Simone Gao: Last question. Do you think president Trump has done anything wrong or improper in this Ukrainian incident? A Lot of people, I think a lot of people believe even if the president has done something improper, it doesn’t amount to impeachment.
Steve Bannon: This is the key point. When we started the show, I think 75 or 80% of the Republicans in this town said, “Hey, the call wasn’t perfect. What he did wasn’t perfect. In fact, I don’t agree with, it may have even been wrong, but it didn’t rise to the level of being impeachable”. We said from the beginning that’s (perspective is) dead wrong. What president Trump said is, “it’s a perfect call. It was a perfect call and what I did, I did everything right. In fact, I did what the American people hired me to do”. That’s the point. Not only didn’t president Trump not do anything wrong, he did what the American people hired him to do and what they hired him to do is to make sure that in some…I call Ukraine a sideshow to a sideshow. The main event, the main thing, the thing itself is the rise of the Chinese communist party.
Steve Bannon: The thing itself is now this kind of whole of government approach to basically going to the Chinese communist party and saying, “Hey, we understand you’re not a strategic competitor. You’re doing things here that we don’t agree with’ Right? With our allies and throughout this kind of expansion to the South China sea. So you’ve seen the American government change dramatically under President Trump. And to the point of President Trump’s economic policy of putting in tariffs to break the back of the Chinese communist party in their economic model so that they then can have some sort of a deal that they’ll announce in the next couple of days that is more equitable and has fairness to it. Understanding that, what he did in the Ukraine is 100% correct. And that’s what we’ve been a big believer in…been one of the most avid, strongest advocates out there for what he did is 100% correct.
Steve Bannon: So no, I don’t think there’s anything he did wrong. And in fact, I think what he did was right. I think what we did was right. It was right for the country, it was right for the American people, it was right for the people in the Ukraine. It was right for the world. And that’s why I think that this is a been a total sham process. And I’m a big believer in doing the whole trial because I think you need to turn the guns and you need to turn the light and the focus on what the Democrats have done in this permanent political class in this town, that essentially appeased the dictators in China. They appease the dictators, the Mullahs in Tehran. And what Trump is, is like a Churchill figure in the 1930s. He’s saying “no more appeasement”.
Steve Bannon: There’s going to be confrontation and there’s going to be a rectification. Okay? And whether it’s through trade or through economic warfare or through just a general confrontation that we’re not going to get to kinetic war because we don’t need to go there. But the way to do that is to stand up to the dictators and the president’s doing that. So I think what he did is 100% correct. And I believe that all the opposition party the media and all the opposition in the national security and foreign policy establishment should be totally exposed. And in that exposure, I believe we should drill down into who are the appeasers in the American government about the Chinese communist party. And I want to get that all out and I’m dedicated to do that over the next couple of years.
Simone Gao: Okay. You know what I thought one more question. You know the Chinese trade delegation is arriving today and they’re going to sign a deal. I never got a chance to ask you. What do you think of this phase one trade deal with China?
Steve Bannon: Look, overall what president Trump, the real deal he wanted was the Lighthizer-Trump deal from May of 2019. For the CCP, clearly that’s too catastrophic for them to sign. That would actually couple the two economies and couple, really the Chinese communist party’s…the economy of China into the kind of world economy, not the mercantilist dictatorship that they currently run. They realize, I believe if they’d signed that their power would probably slip away. This interim (deal) I think what president Trump…I’m not a fan of all aspects of it, but I think it’s what president Trump could get for right now and it kind of moved the ball forward and (may) go into a phase two. I think it could be quite powerful, right? I hope that there’s…we haven’t seen the deal it has not been released here. It’s just what it’s been rumored. But I believe if it’s got enough enforcement capability and enough snapback on the tariffs…because they absolutely fear the tariffs.
Steve Bannon: The single thing that your reader should understand is that the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times of London, all the business press told Trump…the business section of the New York times…they told Trump consistently, tariffs don’t work. Tariffs are going to be awful. And it turns out they were dead wrong, as they’re wrong at so many different things. Tariffs work, tariffs broke the CCP. It forced them to the table. And so I think in that regard as an exercise to get them in to at least sign something that now they’re going to have to be held accountable for. And they can see with president Trump, somebody that’s tried to balance so many things, right? He is trying to be a statesman in doing this. It’s going to be something that could potentially be very powerful and lead to a phase two. Like I said, I’m a super Hawk, so I would have tripled the tariffs, right? And brought the Chinese communist party to its knees. But president Trump, I think is more statesman-like, understanding he has to balance a number of things. But I think the people in Taiwan, people in Hong Kong and people in mainland China should understand, with president Trump, you’re seeing for the first time a leader of the free world that has stood up to the Chinese communist party and is winning.
Simone Gao: Thank you very much. Mr Bannon.
Steve Bannon: Thanks for having me.