The investigation into possible collusion between the Russian government and Trump campaign is “a waste of time” and “a farce,” former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon said in an interview that aired on “60 Minutes” Sunday night.
“There’s nothing to the Russia investigation. It’s a waste of time,” Bannon told Charlie Rose during the interview, his first since being fired from the White House last month.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller is conducting a wide-ranging investigation of Russia’s meddling in the presidential campaign. The probe is looking at whether there was any collusion between the Trump camp and Kremlin as well as whether Russian government operatives attempted to infiltrate the campaign.
But Bannon, who joined the Trump team last August after leaving Breitbart News, indicated in the interview that not only does he not believe the collusion allegation, but also that he’s not so sure that Russia attempted to influence the outcome of the election at all.
The CIA, FBI, National Security Agency and Office of the Director of National Intelligence have all determined that the Russian government meddled in the presidential campaign. The agencies have also agreed that the Kremlin coordinated hacks of the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee.
Trump himself has admitted, albeit reluctantly, that the Russian government was behind the hacks.
“What do you believe? You know what the national security institution believes. What do you believe?” Rose asked Bannon.
“I was there, it’s a total and complete farce. Russian collusion is a farce,” Bannon asserted.
Rose responded by reframing the question. He asked Bannon if he believes that the Russians tried to influence the election.
“If you consider maybe something they did that at the DNC,” Bannon began.
“Maybe something they did?” Rose interjected, noting that the CIA and FBI believe that the Russian government was behind the hack of the DNC.
The interview grew tense, with Bannon telling Rose that he has seen intelligence reports that show that “it’s far from conclusive that the Russians had any impact on this election.”
Rose pressed further, pointing out that Mueller’s probe is not focused on whether the Russians influenced the outcome of the election, but rather whether they attempted to do so.
“We’ll have to wait until the investigation is finished,” said Bannon, who has rejoined Breitbart News.