The decision, reported by CNN, Bloomberg and Reuters Tuesday night, came after earlier reports that Trump had been talked out of pardoning Bannon by his aides. Yet even those reports admitted the question was still open throughout the day, with Trump continuing to bring up the possibility.
Bannon — who founded the right-wing news website Breitbart and was the chief architect of Trump’s Muslim travel ban in 2017 — was charged in August 2020 with duping thousands of investors who believed their money would be used to fulfil Trump’s chief campaign promise to build a wall along the southern border.
Instead, Bannon is charged with diverting over a million dollars, paying a salary to one campaign official and personal expenses for himself. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Bannon, who also ran Trump’s 2016 campaign in its final months, left the White House eight months into Trump’s term but remained a close ally as he returned to his media career.
Former Trump advisor Steve Bannon indicted on fraud charges
He was briefly expelled from Trump’s inner circle in 2018 when he was quoted in author Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury criticizing members of Trump’s family. He claimed that Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer along with Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort during the campaign was “treasonous,” and called Ivanka Trump “dumb as a brick.”
Trump issued a lengthy statement from the White House after the quotes were published that severed ties with Bannon, claiming he “has lost his mind” and “has nothing to do with me or my presidency.” Bannon left his leadership position at Breitbart shortly afterwards.
Despite the fallout, Bannon has continued to defend the president in the media and was an unofficial advisory during Trump’s re-election campaign. He has also parroted Trump’s baseless claims of widespread voter fraud and conspiracy since November’s election and has encouraged his former boss to keep fighting to overturn the results.
Trump also commented that he felt “very badly” for Bannon after his arrest last August.
Trump feels ‘very badly’ for Steve Bannon’s arrest
Trump was expected to issue over 100 pardons and clemencies on his final day of office, but the official list has not yet been released by the White House as of Tuesday night.
The list is said to also include rappers Lil Wayne and Kodak Black as well as a number of Republican officials convicted of white collar crimes. It is not anticipated that Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani or members of his family will be pardoned, however.
Trump has already pardoned a number of longtime associates and supporters, including his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort; the father of his son-in-law, Charles Kushner; his longtime friend and adviser Roger Stone and his former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
More to come…
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