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Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019

Trump’s attorney sends cease and desist letter to Bannon over ‘disparaging’ remarks

Steve Bannon was a key manager of the Trump campaign and the White House chief strategist in the first seven months of the Trump administration before being fired on August 18.

world Updated: Jan 04, 2018 22:32 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Washington
US President Donald Trump talks to Steve Bannon during a swearing in ceremony for senior staff at the White House in Washington on January 22, 2017.
US President Donald Trump talks to Steve Bannon during a swearing in ceremony for senior staff at the White House in Washington on January 22, 2017. (Reuters)

President Donald Trump has bristled at the suggestion that, one, Steven Bannon crafted his unlikely victory in the 2016 election and, two, the chief strategist was the brain behind the presidency in the short time he was in the White House.

Now, Trump is venting his full fury at his former strategist, saying in a statement, “When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind.” He also dismissed Bannon as a “staffer” who joined his campaign only after he had all but wrapped up the nomination.

Trump’s lawyers followed up with a letter to author Michael Wolff, whose new book contained Bannon’s disparaging remarks about the president, and the publisher, asking them to “cease and desist from any further publication, release or dissemination” of the book, which will be out on January 9.

The president’s ire was caused by Bannon’s description of a meeting between Donald Trump Jr, the president’s eldest son, son-in-law Jared Kushner and erstwhile campaign chair Paul Manafort with the Russians at Trump Tower as “treasonous”.

“The three senior guys in the campaign thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower in the conference room on the 25th floor – with no lawyers,” Bannon said, according to an excerpt from Fire And Fury: Inside the Trump White House.

“Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad s***, and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately.”

Bannon went on to suggest, without evidence, that Trump Jr might have taken the Russians to meet his father.

Trump went after Bannon, who left the White House in August: “Steve pretends to be at war with the media, which he calls the opposition party, yet he spent his time at the White House leaking false information to the media to make himself seem far more important than he was. It is the only thing he does well.

“Steve was rarely in a one-on-one meeting with me and only pretends to have had influence to fool a few people with no access and no clue, whom he helped write phony books.”

Trump’s attorney Charles Harder said a legal notice sent to Bannon stated that his action of communicating with Michael Wolff had given “rise to numerous legal claims, including defamation by libel and slander, and breach of his written confidentiality and non-disparagement agreement with our clients”.

“Legal action is imminent,” Harder said. The letter to Bannon also stated that “remedies for your breach of the agreement include but are not limited to monetary damages”.

Harder asked Bannon to cease publishing defamatory or confidential information and immediately begin preserving relevant documents in support of his allegations.

First Published: Jan 04, 2018 20:53 IST

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