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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

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
3 hours ago - Science

All-civilian Inspiration4 is back on Earth after flight to space

A side-by-side of the Inspiration4 crew and a shot of their capsule on the way back to Earth. Photo: SpaceX

The all-civilian Inspiration4 crew is back on Earth after their three-day mission in orbit.

The big picture: The launch and landing of this fully amateur, private space crew marks a changing of the guard from spaceflight being a largely government-led venture to being under the purview of private companies.

28 U.S. citizens depart Afghanistan on Qatar Airways flight

Passengers board a Qatar Airways aircraft bound to Qatar at the airport in Kabul on September 10, 2021. Photo: Aamir Qureshi/AFP via Getty Images

The State Department on Saturday confirmed that a Qatar Airways charter flight left Kabul on Friday with 28 U.S. citizens and seven lawful permanent residents on board.

The big picture: Friday's flight is the third such airlift by Qatar Airways since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, AP reports.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Smaller than expected "Justice for J6" rally met with large police presence

Police officers watch as demonstrators gather for the "Justice for J6" rally in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 18, 2021. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

A few hundred demonstrators were met by a heavy law enforcement presence on Saturday at the "Justice for J6" rally outside the fenced-off U.S. Capitol, AP reports.

The latest: Four people were arrested at the rally, including one person with a gun, one with a knife and two with outstanding warrants, per the U.S. Capitol Police.