Aug 20, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump campaign adviser calls Bannon indictment "another malicious prosecution"

Steve Bannon at a conference in Norway

Photo: Gonzales Photo/Jarle H. Moe/PYMCA-Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Jenna Ellis, a senior legal adviser to the Trump campaign, tweeted that the "targeting" of former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who was charged with fraud on Thursday, is "another malicious political prosecution."

Why it matters: President Trump has attempted to distance himself from Bannon — saying Thursday he was only involved for a "small part of the administration" — even as some of his allies come out in support of the former White House chief strategist.

  • Bannon is accused of defrauding donors out of hundreds of thousands of dollars through a crowdfunding campaign called "We Build the Wall," which raked in over $25 million.
  • Bannon is the sixth high-level member of the 2016 Trump campaign to be charged with a federal crime.

What they're saying: Trump said he feels "very badly" for Bannon but that he hasn't been "dealing with him at all" since he was ousted in 2017.

  • "I know nothing about the project other than I didn't like when I read about it, I didn't like it," Trump said. "I said, this is for government. This isn't for private people. And it sounded to me like showboating. And I think I let my opinion be very strongly stated at the time."
  • White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement: "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."

The state of play: Bannon pleaded not guilty to the fraud charges on Thursday. A judge agreed to release Bannon on a $5 million bond.

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

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