Shortly after he left the West Wing, documents show, Mr. Bannon entered into a financial relationship with Mr. Guo, a onetime member of Mr. Trump’s private club Mar-a-Lago who also goes by the name Miles Kwok. That arrangement eventually led to a $1 million contract between Mr. Bannon and a media company bearing Mr. Guo’s name. Both men have said they forged a rapport based on a shared disdain for the Chinese Communist Party.
Mr. Guo moved to a $68 million Manhattan apartment overlooking Central Park in 2017 and turned against the Chinese government, accusing family members of the country’s top anticorruption official of secretly controlling a stake in a major conglomerate. The charges were never substantiated, and Mr. Guo became China’s most-wanted man, accused of a battery of crimes, including bribery and rape.
In New York, Mr. Guo lived a life of luxury, plying guests with Opus One wine and posing with his white bichon frise puppy. His constant attacks against the Chinese Communist Party won him the attention of many conservatives, including Mr. Bannon, as well as the admiration of Chinese people opposed to the party’s hold on power.
Around the same time, Mr. Bannon also returned to the far-right website Breitbart, attempting to ignite a Trump-style populist movement that targeted moderate Republican senators.
But that fizzled in December 2017 after he went all in on Roy S. Moore, the former judge accused of sexually abusing teenage girls who was running in a special election for one of Alabama’s Senate seats. Mr. Bannon scoffed at the allegations, sent Breitbart writers on a mission to discredit the accusers and campaigned more enthusiastically for Mr. Moore, who went on to lose in one of the reddest states in the country, than almost any high-profile Republican.
In January 2018, he was pushed out of Breitbart, which he took over after the sudden death of its founder, Andrew Breitbart, in 2012.
Its billionaire funders, the reclusive Mercer family, told friends that they had grown tired of Mr. Bannon’s impulsive and attention-seeking antics and, according to one associate, said they were concerned about his spending on travel and private security. Mr. Bannon was also quoted in a book by the author Michael Wolff disparaging the president’s son (“treasonous”) and daughter (“dumb as a brick”), another major contributing factor to Mr. Bannon losing his Breitbart job, according to people familiar with the events, and prompting Mr. Trump to disavow him publicly as having “lost his mind.”