Trump slams Bannon

| | Washington

A virtual war has broken out between President Donald Trump and his former chief strategist Steve Bannon after the latter described a Trump Tower meeting with Russians in the run-up to the 2016 election as “treasonous” and “unpatriotic”.

Within hours of Bannon’s scathing comment, contained in an explosive book on the first year of Trump presidency, a furious Trump lambasted his former top aide, remarking: “When he was fired (last August), he not only lost his job, he lost his mind.” 

Dubbing him a “pretender” and “leaker”, Trump accused Bannon of leaking false information to the media during his time at the White House and making himself seem far more important than he was. “Steve was rarely in a one-on-one meeting with me and only pretends to have had influence to fool a few people with no access and no clue, whom he helped write phony books,” Trump said in a statement.

Trump’s lawyers followed this up by sending a legal notice to Bannon that his actions of communicating with author Michael Wolff “give rise to numerous legal claims including defamation by libel and slander, and breach of his written confidentiality and non-disparagement agreement with our clients”.

The book itself, titled Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, was slammed by White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders as “trashy tabloid fiction” that is filled with “false and misleading accounts from individuals who have no

access or influence with the White House”.

In the book, author Wolff quotes Bannon as suggesting that Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr, son-in-law Jared Kushner and former campaign chief Paul Manafort had been “treasonous” and “unpatriotic” for meeting with Russians at Trump Tower in June 2016 after being promised incriminating documents on rival Hillary Clinton.

“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,” the book quotes Bannon as saying. While the book itself is set for release only next week, The Guardian obtained an advance copy and published the “disparaging” Bannon comments.

Apart from the attacks on Trump’s son and son-in-law, Bannon has also been quoted in the book as calling the President’s daughter Ivanka “as dumb as a brick”. As for Donald Trump J., Bannon predicted that he would “crack like an egg on live television”.

Pooh-poohing the claims made in the book that Trump did not want to win the presidential race and that his wife, Melania Trump, was “in tears — not of joy — on knowing about his surprising electoral victory”, a spokeswoman for the First Lady commented that this book was “clearly going to be sold in the bargain fiction section”.

“Mrs Trump supported her husband’s decision to run for President and in fact, encouraged him to do so. She was confident he would win and was very happy when he did,”

said a statement put out by her communications director Stephanie Grisham.

In the book, Wolff quote another Trump aide Sam Nunberg as saying at the outset of the race that he never planned to win the race. “His ultimate goal, after all, had never been to win. I can be the most famous man in the world,” he writes. 



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