Former White House Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon has disclosed that he disagreed with President Donald Trump's decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey. Bannon described Comey's termination as potentially the biggest mistake in "modern political history."
On Sept. 10, Bannon asserted during an interview that Comey's removal had only widened the probe into whether members of the Trump campaign had colluded with Russian officials to influence the 2016 presidential race. Interviewer Charlie Rose asked Bannon if it was true that he had previously described Comey's firing as the biggest political error in U.S. history.
"That probably would be too bombastic even for me, but maybe modern political history... I leave it at that," Bannon told CBS News' "60 Minutes."
On May 9, Trump dismissed Comey in a letter that stated: "While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau."
Comey had been overseeing the federal probe into the Trump campaign and Russia's role during the 2016 election. On May 17, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to head the federal investigation and determine whether Comey's dismissal was an obstruction of justice, The Washington Post reports.
"I don't think there's any doubt that if James Comey had not been fired, we would not have a special counsel, yes," Bannon continued. "We would not have the Mueller investigation. We would not have the Mueller investigation and the breadth that clearly Mr. Mueller is going for."
Bannon declined to answer whether Trump's son-in-law, White House Adviser Jared Kushner, had encouraged the Comey firing.
"You'll have to find that out either through the media or through the investigation," Bannon said. "I don't know."
In August 2016, Bannon joined the Trump campaign as a chief executive. Following the November 2016 election, he was appointed as the White House chief strategist. As the former chairman of Breitbart News, Bannon fielded numerous accusations that he had given a platform to the alt-right. On Aug. 18, Bannon resigned from his position at the White House, Time reports.
Bannon has since returned to Breitbart News. The former Trump aide asserted that the federal probe into Russia would not yield anything substantial.
"There's nothing to the Russia investigation," Bannon said. "It's a waste of time ... I think it's far from conclusive that the Russians had any impact on this election."