Former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon doubled down on his support for President Donald Trump after his former boss criticized him for explosive remarks he made in a forthcoming book by journalist Michael Wolff.
“The president is a great man,” said Bannon on “Breitbart News Tonight,” which is broadcast on Sirius XM radio, in response to a caller’s question about the rift which developed between the two men yesterday. “You know I support him day in and day out.”
Bannon's response was short, crisp, and to the point, but was perhaps more significant for what he didn't say: he issued absolutely no denial or walk-back of any of the quotes attributed to him in the released excerpts of Wolff's book.
In Wolff's book, Bannon calls the president's daughter," Ivanka Trump, "dumb as a brick" and brands a Trump Tower meeting during the campaign between Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and a Russian attorney "treasonous" and "unpatriotic." (An intermediary for the lawyer promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton, the Democratic opponent. Trump Jr.’s emails contradict months of denials by the Trump administration of any collusion with Russian operatives.)
Trump distanced himself from Bannon in a statement. "Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my presidency he claimed. When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind."
Bannon's comments came just hours after lawyers on behalf of the president sent a letter demanding he refrain from making disparaging comments against the president and his family. Trump attorney Charles J. Harder of the firm Harder Mirell & Abrams LLP, said in a statement:
This law firm represents President Donald J. Trump and Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. On behalf of our clients, legal notice was issued today to Stephen K. Bannon, that his actions of communicating with author Michael Wolff regarding an upcoming book give rise to numerous legal claims including defamation by libel and slander, and breach of his written confidentiality and non-disparagement agreement with our clients. Legal action is imminent.
In the letter to Bannon, Harder writes:
You [Bannon] have breached the Agreement by, among other things, communicating with author Michael Wolff about Mr. Trump, his family members, and the Company, disclosing Confidential Information to Mr. Wolff, and making disparaging statements and in some cases outright defamatory statements to Mr. Wolff about Mr. Trump, his family members, and the Company, knowing that they would be included in Mr. Wolff’s book and publicity surrounding the marketing and sale of his book.
During the campaign, then-candidate Trump required his campaign staff to sign a non-disclosure agreement to refrain from any disparaging comments against the candidate, his family or the Trump campaign and organization. As Harder notes:
Remedies for your breach of the agreement include but are not limited to monetary damages, injunctive relief and all other remedies available at law and equity...
Notwithstanding anything to the contrary, each Trump Person will be entitled to all remedies available at law and equity, including but not limited to monetary damages, in the event of your breach of this agreement. Nothing contained in this agreement will constitute a waiver of any Trump Person’s remedies at law or in equity, all of which are expressly reserved.
Wolff's publisher was also threatened with legal action. Bannon did not say anything about the cease-and-desist letter.