Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon called the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between a number of high-ranking Trump campaign officials and a Kremlin-connected attorney “treasonous” and “unpatriotic,” in an interview included in an upcoming book on the Trump White House.
Bannon, who was dismissed from his role seven months after Trump took office, told author Michael Wolff the meeting between Donald Trump Jr., former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, White House advisor Jared Kushner and Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya was at the very least ill advised.
“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,” Bannon told Wolff in an interview for his upcoming book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” obtained by The Guardian.
“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 Trump Tower meeting, which was first exposed by The New York Times in July 2017, was prompted by an offer of “incriminating” information related to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made to the Trump campaign by an intermediary, on behalf of the Russian government. Trump Jr., who replied “I love it,” when contacted with the offer of damaging information, immediately downplayed the incident in the wake of TheNYT report, maintaining no consequential information was revealed.
Bannon added that if the meeting had to take place, it should have been “in a Holiday Inn in Manchester, New Hampshire, with your lawyers who meet with these people.”
Citing recent reports indicating Special Counsel Robert Mueller subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for the financial records of individuals close to Trump, Bannon stressed that the investigation would focus heavily on financial crimes.
“You realise where this is going,” Bannon told Wolff. “This is all about money laundering. Mueller chose [senior prosecutor Andrew] Weissmann first and he is a money-laundering guy. Their path to fucking Trump goes right through Paul Manafort, Don Jr and Jared Kushner … It’s as plain as a hair on your face.”
Deutsche Bank, which has lent hundreds of millions to Kushner’s real estate company, has come under scrutiny for continuing to lend to the Trump Organization after other banks stopped due to credit issues.
“It goes through Deutsche Bank and all the Kushner shit. The Kushner shit is greasy. They’re going to go right through that. They’re going to roll those two guys up and say play me or trade me,” Bannon said.
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