- The former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon was quoted as saying a June 2016 meeting involving Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr., and Russian lobbyists was “treasonous” and “unpatriotic,” The Guardian reported.
- The comments are in a soon-to-be-released, highly anticipated book on President Donald Trump’s White House.
The former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon unloaded on Jared Kushner, a White House senior adviser, and Donald Trump Jr., President Donald Trump’s eldest son, in a soon-to-be-published book.
In Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” which he says is based on more than 200 interviews with the president and those close to him, Bannon zeroed in on the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Kushner and Trump Jr. – along with Paul Manafort, the campaign chairman – and Russian lobbyists.
Emails released by Trump Jr. last year showed he had agreed to the meeting on the premise that the Russians had damaging information on Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, but he has insisted that none was exchanged.
“The three senior guys in the 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,” Bannon is quoted as saying in the book, according to The Guardian. “They didn’t have any lawyers. 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.”
Wolff writes that Bannon said the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 US election would focus on money laundering, adding that Bannon predicted investigators would “crack Don Jr. like an egg on national TV,” The Guardian reported.
At the time of the Trump Tower meeting, Bannon was the top executive at Breitbart News and not yet a member of the campaign.
Now back at Breitbart, Bannon is quoted in the book as saying that if such a meeting needed to take place, Trump Jr. and Kushner should have set it up “in a Holiday Inn in Manchester, New Hampshire, with your lawyers who meet with these people,” according to The Guardian.
He added that information obtained should have then been dumped “down to Breitbart or something like that, or maybe some other more legitimate publication,” the report says.
It’s not the first instance of Bannon pointing the finger at the Trump family for the president’s Russia problems.
In a Vanity Fair profile published last month, Bannon blamed Kushner for taking meetings during the campaign with Russians that made it appear as if Trump wanted help from Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“He’s taking meetings with Russians to get additional stuff,” Bannon told Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman. “This tells you everything about Jared. They were looking for the picture of Hillary Clinton taking the bag of cash from Putin. That’s his maturity level.”
In his book, Wolff focuses heavily on the animosity between Bannon and Kushner and Ivanka Trump, a top White House official. The Guardian report says Wolff quotes Henry Kissinger, the former secretary of state, as saying, “It is a war between the Jews and the non-Jews.”