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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

Go deeper

Biden's dull-by-design plan

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The most remarkable part of President-elect Biden’s campaign and early picks for positions of true power is the unremarkable — and predictable — nature of his big moves. 

Why it matters: Biden is obsessed with bringing stability and conventional sanity back to governance. "He is approaching this — in part — like an experienced mechanic intent on repairing something that's been badly broken," said one source familiar with the president-elect's thinking.

Scoop: Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman says Trump lost

Trump with Schwarzman in 2017. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

It's over. That's what Blackstone chairman, CEO and co-founder Steve Schwarzman — one of President Trump's most loyal allies — and other top Republicans are signaling to the defeated president, 16 days after Joe Biden clinched the win.

Why it matters: It’s all theatrics now. Even if Trump doesn't move on fast, you can. It is safe to ignore the fearful Republicans who insist the process is legit and plausible, because they tell us privately it is not. 

Ben Geman, author of Generate
1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

The beginning of the beginning for Biden's climate push

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Joe Biden's inauguration and the days right after will bring a rat-tat-tat burst of climate policy moves, but keep this in mind amid the splashy pledges: pushing through most of his agenda will be a long, uncertain slog.

Why it matters: Biden's climate plan is far more expansive than anything contemplated under President Obama. But for all the immediate pledges, it will take years to see how far Biden gets.