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Exclusive: Bannon apologizes

Steve Bannon
Bannon. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Battered by the backlash from Michael Wolff's book, Steve Bannon is trying to make amends with the Trump family, providing a statement to Axios that expresses "regret" to President Trump and praises his son, Donald Trump Jr.

  • "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 — as I have shown daily in my national radio broadcasts, on the pages of Breitbart News and in speeches and appearances from Tokyo and Hong Kong to Arizona and Alabama."
  • "President Trump was the only candidate that could have taken on and defeated the Clinton apparatus. 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."
  • "My comments about the meeting with Russian nationals came from my life experiences as a Naval officer stationed aboard a destroyer whose main mission was to hunt Soviet submarines to my time at the Pentagon during the Reagan years when our focus was the defeat of 'the evil empire' and to making films about Reagan's war against the Soviets and Hillary Clinton's involvement in selling uranium to them."
  • "My comments were aimed at Paul Manafort, a seasoned campaign professional with experience and knowledge of how the Russians operate. He should have known they are duplicitous, cunning and not our friends. To reiterate, those comments were not aimed at Don Jr."
  • "Everything I have to say about the ridiculous nature of the Russian 'collusion' investigation I said on my 60 Minutes interview. There was no collusion and the investigation is a witch hunt."
  • "I regret that my delay in responding to the inaccurate reporting regarding Don Jr has diverted attention from the president's historical accomplishments in the first year of his presidency."

The backstory ... In Wolff's book, Bannon is quoted as saying of Mueller's prosecutors: "They’re going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV.'"

Be smart: While Bannon's statement may seem like a baby step, he's as stubborn as Trump when it comes to apologizing and admitting he has made a mistake. He views any concession as a sign of humiliating weakness.

What's next: Look for Don Jr. to accept the statement graciously. But Bannon has further to go with President Trump: Axios has learned that POTUS has said that he wants surrogates who appear for him on TV to "bury Steve."

  • Axios' Jonathan Swan reported last night: Trump has been working the phones over the past several days, telling allies they need to choose between him and Bannon.

P.S. "Fake book" ... Trump tweets as he leaves Camp David: "I’ve had to put up with the Fake News from the first day I announced that I would be running for President. Now I have to put up with a Fake Book, written by a totally discredited author."

  • "Ronald Reagan had the same problem and handled it well. So will I!"

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