Michael Wolff, the author of “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” on Monday said former White House strategist Steve Bannon’s claim that he meant to criticize Paul Manafort rather than Donald Trump Jr. for a 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer they both attended was “false.”
“Listen, I like Steve. I’m grateful for the time he gave me, the insights he gave me, and I don’t want to put him in more hot water than he is already in, but that statement is false,” Wolff said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
The Guardian last week reported, based on Wolff’s book, that Bannon called Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer “treasonous” and “unpatriotic” and said that special counsel Robert Mueller, whose team is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, was “going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV.”
On Sunday, Bannon said his remarks were actually aimed at Manafort, who was Trump’s campaign chair during the 2016 election. He did not apologize to Trump Jr.
Wolff on Monday said that Bannon’s claim was untrue, and that Trump Jr. was the true target of Bannon’s original remarks.
“It was not directed at Manafort,” Wolff said. “It was directed directly at Don Jr.”
In response to Bannon’s comments in the book, President Donald Trump claimed that Bannon “lost his mind” after he left the White House, and said Bannon had “nothing to do” with his administration.
The White House and conservative mega-donor Rebekah Mercer both denounced Bannon’s remarks. According to several reports, board members at conservative outlet Breitbart News, where Bannon serves as executive chairman and Mercer is a member of the board and part owner, also discussed whether to part ways with Bannon.