Breitbart News publisher and former White House strategist Stephen Bannon said that President Trump’s dismissal of FBI Director James B. Comey was the biggest mistake “maybe in modern political history.” This was just one of a number of frank statements by Bannon, who described himself as a “street fighter.” They came during an interview with Charlie Rose of “60 Minutes” that was broadcast on Sunday. “I don’t think there’s any doubt that if James Comey had not been fired,” Bannon said, “we would not have a special counsel.”
“We would not have the Mueller investigation in the breadth that clearly Mr. Mueller is going,” Bannon added: a reference to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and the latter’s investigation of possible links between Trump and his campaign with any possible Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Rose pressed Bannon about the Comey firing, saying that he had heard that Bannon had declared the firing the worst mistake in political history. Bannon said that as “too bombastic,” and whittled it down to “modern political history.”
Mueller was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein on May 17 after Comey was fired by Trump in May. According to The Washington Post, Mueller is examining the decision to dismiss Comey and whether it represents an attempt to obstruct justice.
During the interview, Bannon was critical of Republican congressional leaders. He said that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) are “trying to nullify the 2016 election.” Bannon added that Washington “is a city of institutions, not individuals. And I think you have to look at it as institutions. The FBI is the institution. The speaker of the house is an institution. The majority leader is an institution. Okay? The Justice Department is an institution. They have an institutional logic of how they proceed and what they’re going to do. And you can’t get caught up in individuals.”
Here follow some significant statements made by Bannon during the wide-ranging interview:
"The Republican establishment is trying to nullify the 2016 election."
"They do not want Donald Trump's populist, economic nationalist agenda to be implemented."
"The 'drain the swamp' thing was -- is Mitch McConnell was day one did not want to -- did not want to go there. Wanted us to back off."
"They're going to be held accountable if they do not support the President of the United States."
"The swamp is a business model. It's a successful business model."
"In the 48 hours after we won, there's a fundamental decision that was made ... We embraced the establishment."
"So he looks around and I'm wearin' my combat jacket, I haven't shaved, I got -- you know, my hair's down to here ..."
"That would be probably -- that probably would be too bombastic even for me, but maybe modern political history."
"I'm worried about losing the House now because of this -- of -- because of DACA."
"I think what we have to do is focus on the American citizens."
"Economic nationalism is what this country was built on. The American system."
"I'm a street fighter. That's what I am."
"Donald Trump's a fighter. Great counter puncher. Great counter puncher. He's a fighter."
"I'm talking about obviously, about [Trump's chief economic adviser] Gary Cohn and some other people. That if you don't like what he's doing and you don't agree with it, you have an obligation to resign."
"David Duke -- the President has condemned David Duke and what David Duke stands for."
"I don't need to be lectured -- by a bunch of -- by a bunch of limousine liberals, OK from the Upper East Side of New York and from the Hamptons, OK, about any of this."
"There's nothing to the Russia investigation. It's a waste of time."
"I think it's far from conclusive that the Russians had any impact on this election."
"I don't think the President goes out of his way -- what his point is, why pick another fight?"
"The elites in this country have got us in a situation, we're at not economic war with China, China is at economic war with us."
“That's the geniuses of the Bush administration. I hold these people in contempt, total and complete contempt."
"They're idiots, and they've gotten us in this situation, and they question a good man like Donald Trump."
"Reince started off and Reince said, 'You have -- you have two choices. You either drop out right now, or you lose by the biggest landslide in American political history.'"
"I cannot take the fight to who we have to take the fight to when I'm an adviser to the President as a federal government employee."
“I’m not cut out to be a staffer.”
"(General Kelly's) not going to be able to control it either because it's Donald Trump."
"Hillary Clinton's not very bright."
"We're going to win in '18 and we'll pick up six or seven Senate seats. I think we'll pick up a couple of seats in the House. And he'll win in a huge landslide in '20."