Breitbart News 'considering sacking Steve Bannon' after Donald Trump’s attack on former White House chief strategist

US President accuses former investment banker of 'leaking false information to the media'

Tom Embury-Dennis
Friday 05 January 2018 12:53 GMT
The most explosive claims from a new book about Trump's white house

Donald Trump’s public attack on his former confidante Steve Bannon, has reportedly led his current employer to consider his position.

Board members on the right wing Breitbart News Network, where Mr Bannon is executive chairman, met earlier this week to discuss whether to sack him, The Wall Street Journal reported.

In a rare statement, Rebekah Mercer, a billionaire and key funder of the news outlet, directly criticised the former White House strategist.

“I support President Trump and the platform upon which he was elected,” she said. “My family and I have not communicated with Steve Bannon in many months and have provided no financial support to his political agenda, nor do we support his recent actions and statements.”

Mr Bannon is reportedly considering a defamation lawsuit against Mr Trump, who said he had ”lost his mind” after he was sacked from his White House role.

The US president also insisted that Mr Bannon had “very little to do” with his election victory.

It followed claims in an explosive new book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, that Mr Bannon said that a meeting between Mr Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr and a Russian lawyer with links to the Kremlin, during the presidential campaign was “treasonous”.

Mr Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was charged last October with conspiring to defraud the US in his dealings with Ukraine, also attended the meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya, after she promised them dirt on Hillary Clinton.

The book’s author Michael Wolff, wrote that Mr Bannon told him: “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.”

“Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad sh*t, and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately.”

Mr Trump then took to Twitter to lash out at the author and his one time adviser.

He wrote: “Look at this guy’s past and watch what happens to him and Sloppy Steve!”

He had earlier denounced his former adviser in a statement through the White House, saying that Mr Bannon had “nothing to do with me or my presidency.”

He added: “When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind. Steve pretends to be at war with the media, which he calls the opposition party, yet he spent his time at the White House leaking false information to the media to make himself seem far more important than he was. It is the only thing he does well.”

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also claimed the book was ”filled with false and misleading accounts from individuals who have no access or influence with the White House”.

The book also alleges that Mr Trump boasted about having sex with his friend’s wives, that he ate McDonald’s food to avoid being poisoned and that most of his aides believed he was unfit to be president.

Mr Bannon’s reaction to the controversy has been muted. In interviews with Breitbart News he called the President a “great man” and pledged his continued support for the Trump agenda.

Mr Trump’s lawyer, Charles J Harder, said he is pursuing possible libel charges against Mr Wolff. In a letter to the book’s publisher, he asked it to “immediately cease and desist from any further publication, release or dissemination of the book”.

Breitbart News has been contacted for comment.

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