According to a newly released book, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon referred to the 2016 Trump Tower meeting, a gathering of Trump campaign officials and a “Russian government attorney,” as “treasonous.” Not long after the news broke, the White House released a statement from President Donald Trump, stating that Bannon had “lost his mind.”
The original statements by Bannon were excerpts from the book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” by author Michael Wolff. The content was based on a collection of hundreds of interviews, including with Trump and members of his inner circle, according to a report by CNN.
During one of the interviews, Bannon discussed the June 2016 meeting at Trump tower between Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, who was Trump’s campaign chairman, Jared Kushner, and a Russian attorney, regarding “very high level and sensitive information” that was poised to “incriminate” then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
“The three senior guys in the [Trump] campaign thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower in the conference room on the 25th floor – with no lawyers. They didn’t have lawyers,” said Bannon, according to the book. “Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad shit, and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately.”
Bannon also stated that he believed the Russians likely met with Trump after the initial meeting, something the White House has denied, saying, “The change that Don Jr. did not walk these jumos up to his father’s office on the twenty-sixth floor is zero.”
In the statement released by the White House, Trump replied to Bannon’s comments in the book, saying, “Steven Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency. When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind.”
The statement continued, “Steve was a staffer who worked for me after I had already won the nomination by defeating 17 candidates, often described as the most talented field ever assembled in the Republican party.”
Trump continued, “Now that he is on his own, Steve is learning that winning isn’t as easy as I make it look. Steve had very little to do with our historic victory, which was delivered by the forgotten men and women of this country.”