Illustration: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Friends and allies of Steve Bannon had been warning him for weeks to lay off Jared Kushner — telling him that President Trump would turn against him if he kept publicly attacking the son-in-law.

What we're hearing: Tommy Hicks, a Trump campaign fundraiser and the chairman of the favored pro-Trump outside group America First Policies, relayed a message from the White House to Bannon to "knock it the f— off" or else Trump would blow him up, according to two sources with direct knowledge.

Republican operative Arthur Schwartz was another of Bannon's friends who warned him about fixating on Jared too much and pushing Trump over the edge.

Both Schwartz and Hicks declined to comment.

The Hill's Jonathan Easley broke the news — and I can confirm his reporting — that on Wednesday morning Bannon and his allies were preparing to issue a statement disowning his damaging comments about the president's eldest son Don Junior.

Easley reports:

  • "Bannon on Wednesday was about to issue a statement praising Donald Trump Jr. and disputing his quotes in a book from Michael Wolff, but the statement was spiked after President Trump went nuclear on his former chief strategist."
  • "Bannon's aides sought to impress upon him the need to put out a statement quickly. The aides had crafted a statement, which was pending Bannon's approval, when the White House beat him to the punch."
  • "In the unreleased statement, Bannon had planned to call Trump Jr. a patriot and dispute the account in Wolff's book... in which Bannon described Trump Jr. as 'treasonous' and 'unpatriotic' for setting up a 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer."

What's next: Some of Bannon's closest allies are urging him to still issue such a statement and make peace with Trump and his family. Bannon is resisting. He's quite like Trump in this respect: he views any apology or admission of error as a sign of weakness. But it may be the only way to preserve some sort of a political future for himself.

Go deeper

Poll: 92% of battleground state voters are "extremely motivated to vote"

Voters stand in line at the Metropolitan Multi-Services Center in Houston, Texas on Oct. 13. Photo: Mark Felix for The Washington Post via Getty Images

91% of likely voters nationally say they are "extremely motivated to vote," including 92% in battleground states Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, according to a Change Research/CNBC Poll.

Why it matters: The 2020 election could see record-breaking levels of voter turnout. Voters last week cast ballots at nearly five times the rate they did at this point in the 2016 election, per the U.S. Elections Project. Over 39 million ballots have been cast in early voting states as of Wednesday.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
57 mins ago - Health

OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma to plead guilty to 3 criminal charges

Members of P.A.I.N. (Prescription Addiction Intervention Now) and Truth Pharm staged a rally and die-in last year outside New Yorks Southern District Federal Court in White Plains, where Purdue Pharmaceuticals' bankruptcy hearing was being held. Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, will plead guilty to three federal criminal charges Wednesday as part of a more than $8 billion settlement with the Justice Department, AP reports.

Why it matters: "The settlement is the highest-profile display yet of the federal government seeking to hold a major drugmaker responsible for an opioid addiction and overdose crisis linked to more than 470,000 deaths in the country since 2000," AP notes.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

GM dives full-throttle into electric

GMC Hummer EV. Photo courtesy of General Motors

What has LeBron James as a pitchman, some slightly awkward promotional phrasing ("watts to freedom"), and a six-figure starting price? The electric GMC Hummer.

Driving the news: General Motors unveiled the vehicle — a reborn version of the deceased mega-guzzler — with a highly produced rollout Tuesday night that included a World Series spot. The company also began taking reservations.