Former top adviser to the President, Steve Bannon, claims he has recently been in touch with President Donald Trump.
A source close to the Trump campaign told CNN that Bannon has spoken about talks with Trump as recently as a few months ago.
The revelation comes as Bannon was arrested Thursday and now faces charges of fraud for allegedly dipping into donations made to a campaign to privately fund a wall at the US-Mexico border.
Trump swiftly began to distance himself from his former strategist and the We Build The Wall fundraising campaign within hours of Bannon’s arrest on Thursday.
A second campaign source told CNN that Bannon and Trump spoke “weeks ago” but just for a few minutes. The source said that the two men were unlikely to ever repair their relationship as the President was displeased with Bannon’s involvement in the wall fundraiser.
During a pool spray on Thursday, when asked about Bannon’s arrest, Trump told reporters that he has not been “dealing” with Bannon “at all.”
“I haven’t been dealing with him for a long period of time,” Trump said, adding, that while Bannon was involved in the Trump campaign, Bannon had also worked for Goldman Sachs and “for a lot of companies.”
Trump added that Bannon had also worked “for a small part of the administration, very early on.” The President appeared to show pity for his former strategist calling Bannon’s arrest “sad.”
Bannon had been forced from his seven-month perch in the White House in 2017, after undercutting the President on North Korea policy, among other things.
Also on Thursday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany drilled down on the effort to forge the appearance of distance between the two men.
“President Trump has not been involved with Steve Bannon since the campaign and the early part of the Administration, and he does not know the people involved with this project,” McEnany said in a statement.
But Trump did know at least two of the “We Build the Wall” project organizers — aside from Bannon, former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach had boasted during a New York Times interview in early 2019 of a phone conversation with Trump in which the President gave enthusiastic approval for the project.
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