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Steve Bannon tries to appease Trump by calling Don Jr a 'patriot' and a 'good man'

Bannon is quoted in the new Fire and Fury book as describing a meeting between Russians and Donald Trump Jr as “treasonous” and “unpatriotic”.

Bannon has been dubbed
Bannon has been dubbed "sloppy Steve" by Trump this week.

DONALD TRUMP’S FORMER White House chief strategist is trying to make amends for quotes attributed to him in a revelatory new book, having drawn the fury of the US President earlier this week.

Steve Bannon has issued a statement to the news site Axios reaffirming his support for Trump, while praising his eldest son.

Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury quotes Bannon as calling Donald Trump Jr’s meeting with Russians as ”treasonous” and “unpatriotic”, but the former Trump ally took a far more conciliatory stance with today’s statement.

He said: “Donald Trump Jr is both a patriot and a good man. He has been relentless in his advocacy for his father and the agenda that has helped turn our country around.

My support is also unwavering for the president and his agenda… I am the only person to date to conduct a global effort to preach the message of Trump and Trumpism; and remain ready to stand in the breach for this president’s efforts to make America great again.

Bannon also says that much of his ire is directed at Paul Manafort, who served on the Trump campaign team during his run for president.

“Fake Book”

His comments come after President Trump again took aim at the Wolff book, calling it a “Fake Book”, while allies lined up to defend him today.

Trump tweeted today that the instant bestseller – which paints him as disengaged, ill-informed and unstable, with signs of serious memory loss – was a “Fake Book, written by a totally discredited author.”

Tweet by @Donald J. Trump Source: Donald J. Trump/Twitter

A day earlier, seeking to refute Wolff’s suggestion that he lacked stability, Trump called himself a “very stable genius.”

Senior Trump policy adviser Stephen Miller treated the book derisively while insisting that his boss was in fact “a political genius,” in an interview with CNN today.

Wolff, Miller said, “is a garbage author of a garbage book”. He assailed Bannon as “vindictive” and “out of touch with reality”.

Wolff defended his work today, telling NBC he “absolutely did not” violate any off-the-record agreements in his reporting but conceding, of the total three hours he said he spent with Trump, that the president “probably did not think of them as interviews”.

He also portrayed a high level of concern in the White House over whether Trump risks being removed from office as unfit, as is possible – if difficult – under the constitution’s 25th Amendment.

Almost daily, he said, White House aides would say, “We’re not at a 25th Amendment level yet”.

UPI 20171202 The book claims that Trump can be very difficult to work with. Source: Shawn Thew UPI/PA Images

‘Not going to succeed’

Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, rejected that notion, telling ABC that no one at the White House “questions the stability of the president.” She suggested that Wolff was someone who would “lie for money and for power”.

But Wolff insisted he did not enter the book project with an anti-Trump bias or agenda.

“I would have been delighted to have written a contrarian account here: ‘Donald Trump, this unexpected president, is actually going to succeed.’ Okay, that’s not the story. He is not going to succeed. This is worse than everybody thought.”

Meantime, CIA director Mike Pompeo, appearing on Fox News Sunday, insisted that Wolff’s portrayal of Trump was “just pure fantasy”.

Far from being detached and unable to deal with complex policy issues, Pompeo said: “The president is engaged, he understands the complexity, he asks really difficult questions of our team at the CIA.”

He described Trump as an “avid consumer” of the agency’s intelligence.

Pompeo added that Trump was “completely fit,” saying it was “ludicrous” to suggest otherwise.

‘Hysterical coverage’

Posted by on Friday, 25 May 2018

But in a possible sign of White House sensitivities over the book, Miller lashed out in an unusually raw clash with his CNN interviewer, Jake Tapper.

When Tapper attempted to question Miller about his work with Bannon, the interview deteriorated into a rapid-fire series of mutual interruptions and recriminations.

Miller called Tapper “condescending” and “snide,” and accused CNN of engaging in “negative anti-Trump hysterical coverage” and “spectacularly embarrassing false reporting”.

The two men repeatedly spoke over each other before Tapper declared, “I think I’ve wasted enough of my viewers’ time. Thank you, Stephen,” then turned away from Miller – who was still talking – to tersely announce the next guest.

Miller was not treated kindly in Wolff’s book. The author wrote that Miller “was supposed to be the house intellectual but was militantly unread. He was supposed to be a communications specialist, but he antagonised almost everyone.”

Miller’s combative performance on CNN got a thumbs up from his boss.

“Jake Tapper of Fake News CNN just got destroyed in his interview with Stephen Miller of the Trump Administration. Watch the hatred and unfairness of this CNN flunky!” Trump tweeted after the segment aired.

Tweet by @Donald J. Trump Source: Donald J. Trump/Twitter

© AFP 2018With reporting from Sean Murray

Read: ‘I went to the best colleges for college’: Donald Trump defends attacks on his mental fitness

Read: ‘A very stable genius’: Donald Trump effusive in self-praise amid criticisms in new book

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