How dangerous is Bannon for Trump?
The relationship between Donald Trump and his former chief strategist Stephen Bannon appears to have broken down irrevocably. In Bannon's words, a meeting between Trump's son and son-in-law and a Russian lawyer during the election campaign was "treasonous". This and other comments that are likely to annoy the president will appear in a book by journalist Michael Wolff due to be published in the next few days. What do they mean for Trump's reputation - and for the Republican Party?
Hope for the US's political culture
The Frankfurter Rundschau is delighted at Trump's break with his former colleague:
“For one thing Bannon's justified criticism of the treasonous meeting during the election campaign has put the Russia affair firmly in the White House. Bannon may now join the fired FBI chief James Comey in becoming an informant for the judiciary. But even more important is the brake this puts on the Republican Party shifting further to the right. With his propaganda paper Breitbart and his backing for radical Congress candidates, Bannon was a key anti-establishment campaigner. If the president now turns his back on him his money supplies could be cut off. For the US's maltreated political culture both developments would have a positive impact.”
President in a tight spot
The fact that Trump is now even being criticised by Bannon could spell the end of his presidency, Der Standard believes:
“Steve Bannon is taking the protest vote with him as he leaves - the sole instrument the supposedly anti-establishment politician Trump still had at his disposal. The Republicans in Congress, however, need precisely these votes in important states to be successful in the midterm elections slated for this autumn. ... In a pinch they would get these votes from Bannon and not from a president from whom they're already alienated. For Trump that will have far-reaching consequences, ones that could bring him very close to impeachment proceedings - or at least turn him into a lame duck.”
Things could get even worse for Trump
According to media reports Donald Trump tried to stop Wolff's book from being published. In La Repubblica's view there is no chance of that:
“Since the start of his business career Trump has always had a propensity to mobilise his lawyers and threaten with lawsuits. ... Why? To intimidate his opponents and above all to convince public opinion of the honourableness of his position. Many also believe the legal steps he is taking against Wolff are just a bluff - if only because this would mean that if it came to a lawsuit the defence lawyers would have the right to force Trump's co-workers to testify. And that could lead to embarrassing revelations. Also the attempt to prevent sales of the book seems hardly viable. The book has long since been waiting to go on sale in book stores the world over.”