Allies of President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani are circulating opposition research on Steve Bannon after the former White House strategist questioned Giuliani’s work for the president and suggested he should be replaced.
In a memo sent unsolicited to The Daily Beast last week, one of those Giuliani allies, a former aide on his 2008 presidential campaign, laid out a series of attacks on Bannon under a header describing him as “THE LATEST FOX IN THE TRUMP HOUSE.” It recounted his exit from the White House, his subsequent ouster from Breitbart News, his past criticism of the Trump family, and his affiliation with a controversial Chinese billionaire—with whom the memo suggests Bannon may have a suspect financial relationship.
“Although Steve Bannon has been parading himself over at Fox News as an ally of President Trump, in reality he has been hitting the president’s personal lawyer—the only man standing between the president and Democrats in Congress bloodthirsty for impeachment,” the memo states.
That memo was sent on the condition of anonymity. But The Daily Beast has since learned that another person involved in crafting and circulating the Bannon attacks is Jennifer Kerns, a conservative pundit and political strategist who was previously a spokesperson for the California Republican Party and the successful 2008 ballot initiative banning gay marriage in the state.
The full extent of the anti-Bannon campaign was not immediately clear, but The Daily Beast confirmed that the memo was sent to producers at Fox News last week.
Neither Bannon nor Giuliani responded to requests for comment on the memo. The effort comes at a perilous time for President Donald Trump and his allies as Democrats move forward with a House impeachment inquiry and it shows that elements of Trumpworld are preoccupied by internal disputes even as the president is on the verge of being impeached.
Sources say the memo was sent without the former New York mayor’s knowledge or approval, and multiple plugged-in Trumpworld operatives described the memo as a bizarre and thoroughly unproductive bit of internal squabbling. Two of those sources speculated that Kerns and her fellow Giuliani backer were attempting to ingratiate themselves with Giuliani with an ostentatious public defense.
The memo was put together after recent comments from Bannon, in which he questioned Giuliani’s erratic and occasionally bizarre statements to the press. “Rudy Giuliani, whom we all admire, and many of us love, looks like he may have gotten over his skis on some of this situation in Ukraine,” Bannon said in a mid-October interview. “I think the president’s going to have to rethink his legal team.”
Bannon aimed another barb at Giuliani days later on a new radio show he hosts with Jason Miller, a former senior Trump campaign aide, and Raheem Kassam, a former editor at Breitbart, which Bannon led prior to and immediately after his White House tenure. “We can’t do the Rudy thing anymore,” Bannon declared on a recent episode of the show, titled War Room. “Too many Ukrainian names, too many moving pieces.”
Kerns and the fellow Giuliani ally took it upon themselves to counter that criticism with a withering broadside against Bannon.
“I was responding to the news cycle that Mr. Bannon himself created by speaking with The New York Times for a report on Sunday in which he attacked the president’s impeachment strategy, what he viewed as the White House’s lack of urgency in dealing with the impeachment inquiry, and the president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani,” Kerns said in an emailed statement. “I felt it was inappropriate for a former adviser to the president to be utilizing such a public, left-leaning forum to air his grievances.”
“I haven’t seen Bannon nor his team attack the president’s strategy nor Rudy Giuliani since my notes circulated,” Kerns added, “so perhaps the point was taken.”
The memo, however, is rife with speculation and innuendo, frequently attributing its attacks on Bannon simply to “sources.” It accuses Bannon of attempted self-aggrandizement and financial enrichment.
“Bannon has been out of favor for the last 18 months,” the memo says. “Is he looking for a job [and] re-entry into the lucrative  election cycle?”
It’s not the memo’s only allegation regarding Bannon’s financial dealings. It cites “two reliable sources” to claim that Bannon has traveled to China seeking financing for a new conservative television network (Bannon recently teamed up with a prominent Chinese dissident group to produce a film critical of the Chinese government). It also accuses Bannon of having “betrayed Trump” by giving interviews to Michael Wolff, the author whose book on the early days of the Trump presidency drew major ire from the White House. The book recounted Bannon’s characterization of the infamous Trump Tower meeting between a pair of Russian lawyers and, among others, Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner as “treasonous.” The book, Fire and Fury, was widely criticized for a host of factual inaccuracies, but Bannon never denied the reporting on that comment.
Bannon’s War Room co-hosts don’t escape criticism either. The memo recounts details of Miller’s ugly custody battle with A.J. Delgado, a former Trump campaign aide who gave birth to Miller’s child in 2017. And it goes after Kassam over his departures from Breitbart and the conservative publication Human Events—“some sources say he was forced out of both,” the memo claims, offering no additional evidence—and even notes, oddly, that he is “a non-U.S. Citizen who has taken a vested interest in Impeachment.”
Kassam brushed off the criticism in a text message. “I feel sorry for Mayor Giuliani that he has a bunch of Never-Trumper stans running around using his name to get attention,” he wrote.
In her statement, Kerns said Kassam “harassed [her] in a profanity-laden text tirade” after she sent the memo to a number of Fox producers. “Any member of our party should be able to defend the president, the president’s strategy, the hard work of those in the White House, and the president’s personal lawyer without facing profane attack.”
Kassam denied any such “tirade,” but said he was “delighted as ever to take incoming for the MAGA movement against friends of [former Fox host] Megyn Kelly.”
“Now,” he added, “if they’ll excuse me I have a war room to run.”