Ousted White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon planned to dismiss the explosive new book on the Trump administration as a "lefty hatchet job" before President TrumpDonald TrumpHarris stumps for McAuliffe in Virginia On The Money — Sussing out what Sinema wants Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — The Facebook Oversight Board is not pleased MORE lashed out at him, according to a new report.
CNN obtained Bannon's original statement on the book, in which Bannon planned to praise Donald Trump Jr.Don TrumpHow Trump uses fundraising emails to remain undisputed leader of the GOP Donald Trump Jr. joins Cameo Book claims Trump family members were 'inappropriately' close with Secret Service agents MORE as a "great American and a patriot"
"Don Jr., like his father, is a great American and a patriot. And we all know Don Jr. did not knowingly meet with Russian agents," Bannon's statement reads.
In the book, Bannon is quoted as saying Trump Jr.'s 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer was "treasonous" and "unpatriotic."
Excerpts of Michael Wolff's "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House" were released ahead of publication on Wednesday, sending the White House and Washington media into a frenzy.
The book sparked a feud between Bannon and Trump after the president responded to the excerpts by saying Bannon has "lost his mind."
Aside from praising Trump Jr., Bannon also took aim at Wolff in the original statement.
"Michael Wolff took my remarks about Don Jr. out of context to sell his book. Sadly, this is yet another lefty hatchet job intended to disrespect our President and his supporters."
"As I said during my interview with '60 Minutes' and many times since, there is no basis to the Russian investigation. It's a political witch hunt orchestrated by the left," the statement reads.
The Hill reported earlier this week that Bannon drafted the statement but was conflicted about releasing it, until he was pre-empted by a statement from Trump.
“He was literally just about to respond but backed off when the White House issued the statement,” a source close to Bannon told The Hill, referring to Trump's statement that Bannon "lost his mind."