Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo: Jim Watson / Getty Images

Sources who've spoken to Steve Bannon tell me they're perplexed by his apparent fixation on Andrew Weissmann — the Russia investigation prosecutor described as Robert Mueller's "pit bull."

The intrigue: What's raised the eyebrows of some who've heard Bannon hold court about Weissmann is that he refers to him only positively and with great admiration.

"He obsesses on Weissmann in a positive way, labeling him a 'killer' which is his [Bannon's] highest form of compliment," said one source who's spoken to Bannon about the prosecutor.

  • "He [Bannon] would give the impression he had an inside knowledge of what was going with the [Mueller] investigation," the source added. "I've never heard him once utter a criticism of Weissmann, which is odd.

A second source confirmed that Bannon had spoken this way about Weissmann.

In Michael Wolff's explosive new book, "Fire and Fury," he quotes Bannon as saying:

  • "You realize where this is going ... This is all about money laundering. Mueller chose (senior prosecutor Andrew) Weissmann first and he is a money-laundering guy," Bannon reportedly said: "Their path to f***ing Trump goes right through Paul Manafort, Don Jr., and Jared Kushner ... It's as plain as a hair on your face."
  • Wolff also quotes Bannon saying this of Mueller hiring Weissmann: "You've got the LeBron James of money laundering investigations on you, Jarvanka. My a---hole just got so tight!"

Sources who've spoken to Bannon about the Mueller probe say he's telling everyone that Mueller's team hasn't contacted him and that he's told them nothing.

A source close to Bannon told Axios: "Steve has zero relationship with Weissmann. If he speaks with knowledge it is for being a voracious reader of the news."

Bannon declined to comment on the record when contacted for this story.

Go deeper

Off the Rails

Episode 3: Descent into madness

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 3: The conspiracy goes too far. Trump's outside lawyers plot to seize voting machines and spin theories about communists, spies and computer software.

President Trump was sitting in the Oval Office one day in late November when a call came in from lawyer Sidney Powell. "Ugh, Sidney," he told the staff in the room before he picked up. "She's getting a little crazy, isn't she? She's really gotta tone it down. No one believes this stuff. It's just too much."

Convicts turn to D.C. fixers for Trump pardons

Trump confidante Matt Schlapp interviews Jared Kushner last February. Schlapp is seeking a pardon for a biotech executive. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

A flood of convicted criminals has retained lobbyists since November’s presidential election to press President Trump for pardons or commutations before he leaves office.

What we're hearing: Among them is Nickie Lum Davis, a Hawaii woman who pleaded guilty last year to abetting an illicit foreign lobbying campaign on behalf of fugitive Malaysian businessman Jho Low. Trump confidante Matt Schlapp also is seeking a pardon for a former biopharmaceutical executive convicted of fraud less than two months ago.

GOP plots payback for deplatforming Trump

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Capitol Hill conservatives are gaming out a multi-front war on the tech industry as retribution for deplatforming President Trump and others on the right, congressional sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: When you're in the minority, you figure out who you are as a party. With Republicans now looking up at the Democrats, they're searching for a unifying issue. This is one, at least for now.