Aug 20, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Kris Kobach claimed Bannon's wall project had Trump's "blessing" last year

Kobach holds a microphone and wears a suit

Kris Kobach in Emporia, Kansas, in October 2018. Photo: Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach told the New York Times last year that President Trump gave his "blessing" to a Steve Bannon-guided campaign to privately fund a wall along the southern border.

Why it matters: The "We Build the Wall" project ultimately resulted in Bannon's arrest on fraud charges on Thursday, alongside three others, and Kobach's statement over a year ago highlights the president's closeness to many involved with it.

  • There is nothing to indicate that Trump knew anything about the alleged fraud carried out by Bannon and his associates.
  • The White House did not respond to requests for comment from the Times last year about the claims from Kobach, who served as the project's general counsel on its advisory board and has run failed campaigns in Kansas for both Senate and governor.
  • "President Trump has not been involved with Steve Bannon since the campaign and the early part of the administration, and he does not know the people involved with this project," White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement on Thursday.

The big picture: "We Built the Wall" counted a number of conservatives in Trump's orbit on its advisory board, including Bannon, Kobach, Blackwater founder Erik Prince and Sheriff David Clarke.

Go deeper