Bannon Backs Ex-Rep. Grimm, Convicted Felon Who Threatened Reporter

Twitter/@RealMGrimm
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Allegra Kirkland contributed reporting.

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is backing the congressional campaign of former representative and convicted felon Michael Grimm.

The pair took the above photo Wednesday at the so-called “Breitbart Embassy” in Washington, D.C., three days after Grimm announced his bid to return to Congress. Bannon frequently spends time in the townhouse, which, according to several outlets‘ reporting on property records, is owned by the former Egyptian member of parliament and occasional Breitbart News source Moustafa El-Gindy.

Former Trump campaign adviser Michael Caputo, who is now advising Grimm’s campaign, confirmed the details behind the photo in a phone call with TPM.

Grimm resigned from Congress after pleading guilty to one charge of tax evasion in 2014, just weeks after winning a re-election bid to Congress. A few months later, he was sentenced to eight months in prison.

In addition to his guilty plea, Grimm also admitted to underreporting wages and sales at his restaurant Healthalicious between 2007 and 2010, filing false tax returns for himself and his business and committing perjury in the course of a separate lawsuit brought by former employees of Healthalicious, the New York Times noted.

The former congressman is also known for a video capturing him threatening to throw a local New York reporter off a balcony and break him in half “like a boy.” The reporter had attempted to ask Grimm about a fundraiser of his who had been charged with improper campaign finance practices. The fundraiser, Diana Durand, later pleaded guilty.)

Grimm initially did not apologize for threatening the reporter, saying, “I expect a certain level of professionalism and respect” and that the attempted question violated that expectation. The reporter later said Grimm had apologized and he accepted the apology.

Grimm isn’t Bannon’s first endorsement since leaving the White House. He also spoke at a rally for Republican senate nominee and former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice Roy Moore. Moore has said homosexual behavior should be made illegal and that Congress’ first Muslim representative, Keith Ellison (D-MN), shouldn’t have been sworn in due to his faith.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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