In a blow to President Trump on the eve of the Republican convention next week, former top White House and campaign advisor Steve Bannon was indicted on charges of financial fraud Thursday.
Bannon left the White House after just seven months in 2017, and while Trump has distanced himself from Bannon, the former advisor has remained a fervent supporter of the president and his reelection.
As many of you know, I wrote a biography of Bannon and spent a lot of time with him as part of my research, though we’ve had little contact since.
I have no first-hand knowledge of what is going on. I would say that while Bannon certainly can be Machiavellian and view the ends as justifying the means, it was not my sense that stealing money would be his kind of thing. But we’ll see where this leads.
According to the New York Post:
Former White House adviser Steve Bannon has been indicted on charges he defrauded donors to a $25 million campaign to build a border wall, federal prosecutors in Manhattan said Thursday.
Bannon and others are accused of ripping off donations to the “We Build the Wall” online fundraiser.
Audrey Strauss, acting US attorney for the Southern District of New York, said the defendants “defrauded hundreds of thousands of donors, capitalizing on their interest in funding a border wall to raise millions of dollars, under the false pretense that all of that money would be spent on construction.”
Bannon, the former chief strategist to President Trump, personally pocketed $1 million in contributions meant for construction of the border wall, funneled through a nonprofit under his control, prosecutors alleged.
Meanwhile, “We Build the Wall” founder Brian Kolfage, 38, promised donors he wouldn’t take a single penny from the pot — but Bannon and their cohorts “secretly schemed to pass hundreds of thousands of dollars to Kolfage, which he used to fund his lavish lifestyle,” Strauss said.