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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

Trump says he plans to launch new social media network in 2022

Photo: Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Trump on Wednesday announced plans to launch a social media network called "Truth Social," and that it would go public via a SPAC.

Why it matters: Most ex-presidents are focused on their legacies, by creating presidential libraries or engaging in philanthropic endeavors. Trump, however, remains consumed by social media.

Beauty giant Coty Cosmetics looking to sell its own branded products

Coty Cosmetics CEO Sue Nabi. Photo: Axios on HBO

Coty Cosmetics CEO Sue Nabi tells Axios the beauty giant will “probably” introduce Coty-branded products one day.

Why it matters: Coty produces some of the world’s most popular fragrances, skin care products and color cosmetics on behalf of other well-known brands, but has shied away from producing its own branded products.

2 hours ago - Sports

NFL to end race-based testing in concussion settlements

Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

The National Football League on Wednesday reached an agreement with former players to end the controversial practice of race-based adjustments in dementia testing, AP reports.

Why it matters: The deal, which must still be approved by a judge, comes amid a broader discussion of racial inequities in health care.