Washington (CNN)Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon believes President Donald Trump’s decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey was one of the worst mistakes in “modern political history.”
In a “60 Minutes” interview that was posted online Sunday night, Bannon was asked whether he considered Comey’s dismissal — which ignited a political firestorm and directly led to the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 election, including potential ties to Trump’s campaign — the biggest mistake in political history.
Bannon responded, “That would be probably — that probably would be too bombastic even for me, but maybe modern political history.”
He went on to acknowledge that if Comey had not been let go, it’s unlikely that the probe led by special counsel Robert Mueller would have been established.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that if James Comey had not been fired, we would not have a special counsel, yes,” he said. “We would not have the Mueller investigation. We would not have the Mueller investigation and the breadth that clearly Mr. Mueller is going for.”
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders signaled Monday that the President and the White House stand by his decision to fire Comey.
“It has been shown in the days that followed that the President was right to fire Director Comey,” Sanders said, arguing that Comey gave “false testimony” and leaked “privileged information to journalists.”
“I think the President’s been very clear about his position on that front,” Sanders said, adding that Trump is “very pleased with the new” FBI director, Christopher Wray, whom the Senate confirmed last month.
In the online segment, Bannon also said he doesn’t believe Trump should fire Mueller, adding that he has not heard anything from within the White House that would indicate such a move is under consideration. Trump himself told reporters last month he hasn’t given firing Mueller any thought, despite people close to him telling the media that the President was considering it.
Bannon’s brash character was on full display in the interview, in which he discussed his disdain for the Catholic Chuch’s position on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, called the investigation into Russian election involvement “a farce” and took aim at the Republican establishment.
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