Steve Bannon, a former top advisor to President Donald Trump, says he is ready for a fight after being arrested on allegations that he defrauded donors to the “We Build the Wall” fundraising campaign, calling his indictment “a political hit job.”
What are the details?
Bannon pleaded not guilty on Thursday to charges brought by the Department of Justice accusing him and three associates of siphoning money for personal use from “We Build the Wall” — a $25 million fund built by contributions from private citizens for the purpose of constructing a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Politico reported that Bannon struck a “defiant tone” in reacting to his arrest on Friday. Speaking on his show, “War Room,” the former Trump campaign CEO said, “I am not going to back down. This is a political hit job,”
“I was called ‘honey badger’ for many years,” Bannon continued. “You know, ‘honey badger doesn’t give…’ So, I’m in this for the long haul. I’m in this for the fight.”
“This is to stop and intimidate people that have President Trump’s back on building the wall,” he argued. “We are never going to stop pushing the wall. This stuff is complete nonsense. I am not going to back down one inch. People who know me know I’m a fighter.”
Bannon also speculated on his show the the timing of his indictment was suspicious given his ties to the president, who is in the middle of a reelection campaign.
“The timing is exquisite,” Bannon said. “We have 72 [days until Election Day] and a wake up to what Donald Trump says is the most important election.”
The Washington Examiner noted that President Trump distanced himself from Bannon following his arrest, telling reporters of the “We Build the Wall” initiative, “When I read about it, I didn’t like it. I said, ‘This is for government; this isn’t for private people.’ And it sounded to me like showboating.”
According to ABC News, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany issued a statement saying that Trump “has not been involved with Steve Bannon since the campaign and the early part of the Administration, and he does not know the people involved with this project.”
Reiterating the president’s position, she added, “President Trump has no involvement in this project and felt it was only being done in order to showboat, and perhaps raise funds.”
During his show, Bannon addressed the president’s statement, too.
“What he said yesterday was absolutely correct,” the former head of Breitbart News Network said. “Building the wall is a function of government. But look how much trouble President Trump has had.”