(National Sentinel)Â Cock Fight: The war between former top political advisorÂ Steve Bannon and his former boss President Donald J. Trump took on new twists overnight as theÂ Breitbart News chief lost the support of a key billionaire backer while facing the threat of a lawsuit.
As reported byÂ The Hill, Bannon lost the support of billionaire Rebekah Mercer, who is an ally of the president, after he suggested he may challenge Trump in 2020.
“A person close to Mercer toldÂ The Washington PostÂ that she no longer supports Bannon. According to the report, Mercer was frustrated with Bannon’s strategy in the Alabama SenateÂ Race,Â and pulled her funding after he told otherÂ major conservative donors that Mercer would back Bannon in his own presidential bid,”Â The Hill noted.
Bannon backed Judge Roy Moore in the Alabama race after he defeated incumbent Sen. Luther Strange in a GOP primary last year. Trump initially supported Strange but eventually got on board with Moore in order to keep Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ former seat in Republican hands.
But after several revelations that Moore may have sexually harassed or abused teenage girls as an adult, his candidacy flagged and he was eventually defeated by Democrat Doug Jones, who was sworn into the U.S. Senate earlier this week.
â€œThe core constituency for Breitbart is what you would call the TrumpÂ Deplorables. Thatâ€™s the audience. And if theyâ€™re asked to choose between Steve and Trump, theyâ€™re going to choose Trump. Thatâ€™s clear,â€ a person familiar with Breitbart News‘ operations told The Post.
It isn’t clear from the Post report if Mercer will continue to supportÂ Breitbart News either, though she bought a stake in the news organization from her father in November. The Post did say that Mercer would no longer support any Bannon projects.
Meanwhile, asÂ ABC News reported, lawyers on behalf of Trump have sent Bannon, the president’s former chief political strategist, a cease-and-desist letter demanding he stop making further disparaging statements about Trump’s family.
Trump attorney Charles J. Harder of the firm Harder Mirell & Abrams LLP, said in a statement, “This law firm represents President Donald J. Trump and Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. On behalf of our clients, legal notice was issued today to Stephen K. Bannon, that his actions of communicating with author Michael Wolff regarding an upcoming book give 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,” the statement continued.
In a letter to Bannon, Harder writes, “You [Bannon] have breached the Agreement by, among other things, communicating with author Michael Wolff about Mr. Trump, his family members, and the Company, disclosing Confidential Information to Mr. Wolff, and making disparaging statements and in some cases outright defamatory statements to Mr. Wolff about Mr. Trump, his family members, and the Company, knowing that they would be included in Mr. Wolffâ€™s book and publicity surrounding the marketing and sale of his book.”
During his campaign, then-candidate Trump had all campaign staff sign non-disclosure agreements which disallowed them from making any disparaging comments about him or his family, or the Trump organization, among other things.
The letter and escalating war between Bannon and Trump comes afterÂ The Guardian published excerpts of a new book on the Trump White House by Michael Wolff, in which he quotes Bannon making dire predictions about how special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation will affect Donald Trump Jr. and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner.
The news site noted that in Wolff’s book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,”Â Bannon slams Trumpâ€™s son, Don Jr., and son-in-law Jared Kushner as behaving in a Â â€œtreasonousâ€ manner, among other things, for taking a meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower in June 2016.
He also predicted that Mueller is focusing on “money laundering” involving former campaign manager Paul Manafort, Don Jr., and Kushner.
Manafort has filed a lawsuit against Mueller and the Justice Department, accusing both ofÂ overreaching with criminal charges brought last fall that included money laundering and tax evasion.
â€œTrump is not sparedâ€ either,Â The Guardian reported. â€œWolff writes thatÂ Thomas Barrack Jr,Â a billionaire who is one of the presidentâ€™s oldest associates, allegedly told a friend: â€˜Heâ€™s not only crazy, heâ€™s stupid.’â€
Barrack immediately denied making those statements toÂ The New York Times‘Â Maggie Habberman.
â€œBarrack said he spoke to Wolffe once, says he never said the quote attributed to him to Wolffe or anyone. â€˜Totally false,â€™ Barrack said by phone just now.Â Tom Barrack adds, â€˜Itâ€™s clear to anyone who knows me that those arenâ€™t my words and inconsistent with anything Iâ€™ve ever said.â€™ He says Wolffe never ran that quote by him to ask if it was accurate,â€ tweeted Haberman.
Barrack said he spoke to Wolffe once, says he never said the quote attributed to him to Wolffe or anyone. "Totally false," Barrack said by phone just now.
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) January 3, 2018
Tom Barrack adds, "It's clear to anyone who knows me that those aren't my words and inconsistent with anything I've ever said." He says Wolffe never ran that quote by him to ask if it was accurate.
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) January 3, 2018
Trump responded to Bannon’s criticisms in a statement Wednesday, claiming he got to the campaign late and was not responsible in any way for his victory.
â€œSteve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency,â€ Trump said in a statement Wednesday.
â€œWhen he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind. Steve was a staffer who worked for me after I had already won the nomination by defeating seventeen candidates, often described as the most talented field ever assembled in the Republican party,â€ he added.
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