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Bannon Grifter Indictment: More Steel Bracelets for Team Trump

All this winning makes my wrists hurt!
August 20, 2020
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Oh, what a summer it’s been for those salt-of-the-earth, God-fearing, Second Amendment-protecting, border-defending members of President Trump’s circle of trusted advisers.

You know, the people who are working day and night to protect your rights from the evil, money-sucking swamp monsters of Washington, D.C.? Well, if you believe that, you’re probably the perfect mark for the next grifter campaign led by another one of Trump’s con men.

Today, Breitbart founder-turned Trump campaign CEO-turned White House adviser Steve Bannon was indicted and arrested for fraud. Which makes him the second Trump presidential campaign manager to get fitted with a free pair of steel bracelets. (It’s like a BOGO offer: Do this crime, get this promo item free!) Not to be mistaken with Trump’s deputy campaign manager who was jailed, mind you. Or his personal lawyer. Or his longtime adviser Roger Stone.

But, hey, who’s keeping track?

Particularly when there is so much more money to be made and so many more issues to be exploited.

Bannon is going to be spending a lot of time with his lawyers this fall because prosecutors at the Southern District of New York allege he participated in a scheme to bilk people who wanted to privately fund the border wall. Under the premise of an online crowdfunding group, “We Build The Wall,” he helped rack up more than $25 million in donations from donors who were told, according to the indictment, that the founders would “not take a penny in salary or compensation” and that “100% of the funds raised . . . will be used in the execution of our mission and purpose.” Bannon publicly stated, “we’re a volunteer organization.”

The founder of the group, Brain Kolfage, is a disabled war veteran who expressly preyed on sympathies people may have for him, with Bannon-esque flair. Material from him still left up on the website pleads: “It’s time we stand up and fight back against the globalist [sic] who continue to allow our nation to be overrun. I fought in war and lost three limbs defending this country, but now the war is at our doorstep. It just takes $60 and share this with your friends and family. Let’s go win this battle!”

According to the indictment, Kolfage used the money for home renovations, a boat, a luxury SUV, a golf cart, jewelry, cosmetic surgery, personal tax payments, and credit card debt. To nab the cash, Bannon and company created sham invoices to route payments through a non-profit and shell company. Standard fraud kind of stuff. Question for the lawyers, would a purchase for a boat to be used in a Trump flotilla count as a business expense or not?

In hindsight, maybe Bannon’s plans to lease a 13th-century, sprawling Italian monastery makes a little more sense. It would make for quite the picturesque sanctuary city.

Gosh, who could have ever expected that all this winning would be so hard on the wrists, though. Ouchie.

If this all sounds a bit familiar, it’s probably because you were reading about National Rifle Association President Wayne LaPierre earlier this summer. It was the same kind of story—extravagant spending on all the rich-guy stuff. Boats, travel, fancy suits. All those things needed to really get in touch with those lunch-bucket construction workers, miners, and diner line cooks. And happened to give reasons for the New York attorney general to seek to dissolve the organization after uncovering rampant fraud and abuse by the non-profit.

And if all that sounds familiar, it’s because that was the same attorney general who shut down Trump’s family charity for, you guessed it, rampant fraud and abuse.

Anyone noticing a pattern here? It’s about as obvious as Trump’s makeup line on his jaw. They’re grifters. And like magnets, they have a strange way of attracting other grifters. President Trump is like a galactic electromagnet that brings grifters together into a self-collapsing black hole of suckage.

But, for anyone left with a last naïve shred of belief that the ideological predators whom Trump surrounds himself with are honestly in these fights for the sheer good of promoting conservative principles, do I need to give you a picture?

If Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of Liberty University, being caught with his pants down isn’t enough to destroy your faith all that is MAGA, then Fox-News-host-turned-Trump-son-girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle would really love it if you would make your most generous donation to the Trump campaign IMMEDIATELY and help their dear family save America.

They need you. Like, really need you. How else are they going to pay for all those tequila-soaked birthday dinners at Mar-a-Lago?

Oh, and while you have your wallet out, can I interest you in MyPillow Guy’s white oleander COVID cure? There’s still time to get in on the ground level of the next big scheme.

Amanda Carpenter

Bulwark political columnist Amanda Carpenter is a CNN contributor, author, and former communications director to Sen. Ted Cruz and speechwriter to Sen. Jim DeMint.