Bannon pushing Trump to take action on Mueller: reports
Former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon is pressing President Trump to curb special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s election interference, according to a Politico report.
Bannon, who currently serves as the executive chair of Breitbart News, has reportedly pushed Trump to defund Mueller’s investigation as a way to restrain Mueller’s probe without having to actually fire him.
According to Politico, Trump considered the idea of ousting Mueller, who was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in May after Trump fired then-FBI Director James Comey, shortly after Mueller took over the Russia investigation, but ultimately decided against it.
CNN’s Dana Bash also said late Monday that she had been told that Bannon was pushing Trump to take more aggressive action against the special counsel, including withholding documents requested by investigators.
“I’m told Bannon pushing trump to be more aggressive against Mueller: urge gop to cut funding, withhold document production and more,” Bash wrote on Twitter.
I’m told Bannon pushing trump to be more aggressive against Mueller: urge gop to cut funding, withhold document production and more https://t.co/ttqepfKZQ9
— Dana Bash (@DanaBashCNN) October 30, 2017
Trump would almost certainly face fierce political blowback if he moved to fire Mueller, even as some of his allies have urged for the special counsel to be removed.
The revelation that Bannon has reportedly urged Trump to take action on Mueller comes as the special counsel’s probe enters a new phase.
On Monday, Mueller unveiled the first set of charges in his investigation, indicting former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Richard Gates, another former campaign adviser and an associate of Manafort, on charges including money laundering and tax fraud.
Another former Trump campaign aide, George Papadopoulos, also pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators about his contacts with a London-based professor with alleged ties to Russian government officials.
Trump and his allies have dismissed the charges and sought to distance the White House from the matter, arguing that Manafort’s time on Trump’s campaign was brief and that the charges are related to alleged crimes committed years ago.
Trump has repeatedly denied any coordination or improper contacts between his campaign and Moscow, and has called Mueller’s investigation a political “witch hunt” propagated by Democrats as an excuse for Hillary Clinton’s loss in the 2016 election.