Steve Bannon minced no words when discussing the ongoing investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 elections, saying "it's a total and complete farce. Russian collusion is a farce." The former White House strategist and campaign manager for ...and more »
Steve Bannon minced no words when discussing the ongoing investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 elections, saying "it's a total and complete farce. Russian collusion is a farce."
The former White House strategist and campaign manager for Trump gave his first "extended" interview to CBS's "60 Minutes" reporter Charlie Rose.
"And are you saying to me those intelligence reports do not suggest that the Russians tried to influence the election —" Rose began to ask Bannon.
"I would never devolve classified information on this show," Bannon replied. "But let me tell you, I think it's far from conclusive that the Russians had any impact on this election."
The interview, although released on Sunday, was recorded close to the same day that the president's son, Donald Trump Jr., testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee about the July 2016 meeting in which Trump Jr., Bannon, and Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner met with a Russian lawyer in the hopes of obtaining damaging information about Hillary Clinton and her campaign.
Opponents of the president say the meeting is proof of collusion, and may have violated campaign finance laws or other laws.
Rose shifted the topic slightly by asking Bannon why the president, "find[s] it so hard to criticize Russia?"
"He criticizes the Russians all the time," Bannon shot back. "He knows the Russians are not good guys. We should be focused on how we bring the Cold War to an end, so we don't have to — and I think it was President Obama's program, $1 trillion to upgrade the nuclear arsenal. Is that what you want to do? Is that where you want to spend your money? Would you rather spend $1 trillion in Cleveland, in Baltimore, in the inner cities of this country where we need to spend it, in the heartland of this nation?"
Multiple entities in Washington are investigating issues related to Russia, including the House Intelligence Committee, Senate Intelligence Committee, and the Department of Justice special counsel appointment of Robert Mueller.
Still, smaller Russian-related scandals have plagued the White House almost since the inauguration, and have drained the administration's energy away from their agenda.
Mike Flynn was forced to step aside as Trump's national security advisor just three weeks into the job because transcripts of a phone call he had with Russian diplomat Sergey Kislyak showed he had discussed Russian sanctions during the transition period, even though Flynn had previously said sanctions weren't a part of the conversation.
Not long after, new details about meetings between Kislyak and Attorney Jeff Sessions, which happened in 2016, were a key motivator in Sessions' decision to recuse himself from any investigation related to the 2016 campaigns.
Todd Shepherd,Mike Flynn,Steve Bannon,Donald Trump,Jeff Sessions,Campaigns,2016 Elections,Russia,Hillary Clinton,White House,News,Politics