Bannon predicts 2019 will be 'most vitriolic year' in US politics 'since before the Civil War'

Bannon predicts 2019 will be 'most vitriolic year' in US politics 'since before the Civil War'
© Greg Nash

Former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon predicted in an interview broadcast Sunday that the coming year "will be the most vitriolic year in American politics since before the Civil War."

Bannon said on CBS's "Face the Nation" that the combination of investigations into President TrumpDonald John TrumpPapadopoulos on AG's new powers: 'Trump is now on the offense' Pelosi uses Trump to her advantage Mike Pence delivers West Point commencement address MORE taking place in the Southern District of New York, and the possibility that Democrats could "weaponize" the findings from special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump orders more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions Trump: Democrats just want Mueller to testify for a 'do-over' Graham: Mueller investigation a 'political rectal exam' MORE's investigation raise the prospect of a turbulent year.

"I think 2019 will be the most vitriolic year in American politics since before the Civil War," he said. "And I include Vietnam in that. I think we’re in for a very nasty 2019."

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Multiple reports emerged last week raising the possibility that Mueller would submit a report in the coming days on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion between Trump's campaign and Moscow. The Department of Justice later said that was not the case.

The investigation thus far has implicated more than 20 Russians and six former Trump associates, though none of those tied to the president have been charged with any conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Moscow to interfere in the election.

Bannon said on CBS that he believes Trump will emerge from the year "in a much more battle-hardened position" and "very focused" on 2020.

The former chief strategist said he has "zero" doubt Trump will seek reelection in 2020. He added that he expects there to be a Republican primary challenge to the president, but suggested it would be more "symbolic" than serious. 

Bannon, who served in a top role on Trump's 2016 campaign, left the White House in the summer of 2017. He and Trump later had a falling out after Bannon was quoted extensively in the book "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House," including instances in which he criticized the president's family.