Bannon expresses regret over response to bombshell book

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon said Sunday he regretted not responding sooner to comments attribute...

Posted: Jan 8, 2018 3:06 PM
Updated: Jan 8, 2018 3:06 PM

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon said Sunday he regretted not responding sooner to comments attributed to him that were critical of Donald Trump Jr. in an explosive new book on the White House.

"Donald Trump, Jr. is both a patriot and a good man," read Bannon's statement, which CNN obtained Sunday from a source close to Bannon. "He has been relentless in his advocacy for his father and the agenda that has helped turn our country around."

The statement comes as the President has called on friends and allies to choose between him and Bannon

Trump continued to fume privately about Bannon over the weekend

The statement later adds: "I regret that my delay in responding to the inaccurate reporting regarding Don Jr has diverted attention from the president's historical accomplishments in the first year of (Trump's) presidency."

Axios first reported Bannon's statement.

READ: Steve Bannon's full statement on comments attributed to him in 'Fire and Fury'

Bannon's statement comes as the President has called on friends and allies to choose between him and Bannon, a source told CNN. It also comes amid an effort to oust Bannon from his position as executive chairman at the conservative news site Breitbart because of his remarks in the book, a person familiar with the matter told CNN.

In the book, "Fire and Fury," author Michael Wolff quotes Bannon as saying the 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Trump campaign officials, including Trump Jr. and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and a Russian lawyer purportedly offering damaging information about Hillary Clinton was "treasonous." The book also attributes statements to him denigrating the President.

CNN has not independently verified all the assertions in Wolff's book.

Bannon said his comments about the Trump Tower meeting were not aimed at Trump Jr., but rather Manafort, "a seasoned campaign professional with experience and knowledge of how the Russians operate. He should have known they are duplicitous, cunning and not our friends."

Following the publication of Bannon's quotes in the book, which went on sale Friday, Trump has called friends and allies to make clear they must choose between him and his estranged former adviser, a source familiar with the calls told CNN. Axios previously reported the calls.

Trump continued to fume privately about Bannon over the weekend despite Sunday's statement, a source inside the White House told CNN, adding that Trump viewed Bannon's semi-apology as "too little and too late."

Trump has also taken to Twitter to attack Bannon, labeling him "Sloppy Steve," and said in a statement released by White House last Wednesday that Bannon had "lost his mind."

On his Sirius XM radio show later the same day, Bannon praised Trump and called him "a great man" -- a comment Trump touted the following morning.

"He called me a great man last night, so he obviously changed his tune pretty quick," Trump said.

The White House has attacked Wolff as well, and an attorney for Trump sent a "cease and desist" letter to him and the book's publisher. The attorney, Charles Harder, also said he sent a cease-and-desist letter to Bannon warning of potential legal action.

After leaving the White House, Bannon returned to his previous position as executive chairman of the right-wing website Breitbart, where he has boosted Trump and select conservatives. But his future there has come into question in the wake of Wolff's book. There has been a "hard push" to convince Breitbart CEO Larry Solov and Susie Breitbart, the widow of website founder Andrew Breitbart, to fire Bannon, a person familiar with the matter told CNN.

Billionaire conservative donor Rebekah Mercer, who owns a stake in Breitbart, publicly rebuked Bannon and said they had not spoken "in many months."

Although Bannon's statement Sunday said his comments in the book were "not aimed at Don Jr.," a quote attributed to Bannon in the book predicted, "They're going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV."

Bannon also said in the statement that he continued to believe special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into potential coordination between Trump's associates and Russia to influence the 2016 election is "ridiculous" in nature and "a witch hunt."

In the book, Bannon is quoted as calling the Trump Tower meeting in June of 2016 "treasonous" and saying it should have been reported to the FBI.

"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. They didn't have any lawyers," Bannon said in the book. "Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad s***, and I happen to think it's all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 34622

Reported Deaths: 1215
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds269748
DeSoto181818
Madison138236
Jones117349
Harrison104014
Rankin103515
Neshoba102274
Lauderdale94281
Forrest93943
Scott79215
Jackson72717
Washington64310
Copiah63115
Leake61320
Lee58621
Holmes57341
Oktibbeha56828
Wayne55416
Warren55320
Yazoo5436
Grenada5357
Lowndes52613
Leflore52256
Lincoln50935
Lamar5027
Pike47020
Sunflower4528
Lafayette4374
Monroe43635
Covington4195
Panola3996
Bolivar38018
Attala37524
Simpson3733
Newton35710
Adams34019
Pontotoc3266
Tate32313
Marion31312
Claiborne29310
Chickasaw29219
Winston28711
Pearl River27632
Noxubee2758
Marshall2693
Jasper2676
Clay25511
Union23811
Smith23412
Walthall2267
Coahoma2156
Clarke21425
Lawrence1992
Yalobusha1938
Kemper18014
Carroll17311
Tallahatchie1664
Humphreys15910
Montgomery1493
Calhoun1475
Tippah14411
Itawamba1418
Hancock13813
Webster12811
Tunica1193
Jefferson1173
Jefferson Davis1164
Prentiss1123
Greene10810
Amite1063
George1023
Wilkinson959
Tishomingo921
Quitman891
Alcorn852
Perry764
Choctaw754
Stone732
Franklin492
Benton420
Sharkey420
Issaquena101
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 49892

Reported Deaths: 1077
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson6030162
Mobile4418137
Montgomery4339109
Tuscaloosa254448
Madison19078
Marshall186611
Shelby150924
Lee149437
Morgan12205
Baldwin111410
Walker105127
Elmore98919
Dallas9639
Franklin92216
Etowah88214
DeKalb8416
Chambers65727
Russell6570
Autauga65313
Butler64328
Tallapoosa61669
Unassigned58626
Limestone5741
Houston5526
Cullman5395
Lauderdale5376
Lowndes48022
St. Clair4692
Colbert4656
Pike4595
Escambia4528
Calhoun4365
Coffee4074
Covington39911
Jackson3742
Bullock37010
Barbour3672
Dale3621
Talladega3497
Hale33722
Marengo33011
Wilcox2968
Clarke2946
Winston2893
Chilton2872
Sumter28512
Blount2731
Pickens2556
Monroe2492
Marion24514
Randolph2449
Conecuh2277
Perry2091
Bibb2081
Macon2069
Choctaw20212
Greene1928
Henry1433
Crenshaw1273
Washington1277
Lawrence1170
Cherokee1127
Geneva920
Lamar811
Fayette781
Clay742
Coosa621
Cleburne411
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