Former White House strategist-turned-accused-fraudster Steve Bannon ranted on his podcast Friday that his arrest on money-laundering and other charges was a “political hit job” to stop people from speaking about the border wall.
Bannon spouted the conspiracy theory a day after he was busted by federal agents for allegedly lining his pockets with cash raised through an online fundraising campaign dubbed “We Build the Wall.”
“I am not going to back down. This is a political hit job,” Bannon said on his podcast, “War Room Pandemic.”
“This was to stop and intimidate people who want to talk about the wall. This is to stop and intimidate people who have the president’s back on building the wall,” Bannon fumed.
“We’re never going to stop pushing the wall. We’re never going to stop saying that you can’t stop this wall,” he said.
Bannon pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in Manhattan federal court Thursday — then made a similar assertion to throngs of reporters that the raps against him were politically motivated.
“This entire fiasco is to stop people who want to build the wall,” he said outside the Lower Manhattan courthouse.
Bannon, along with three other defendants, are accused of ripping off donations to the “We Build the Wall” GoFundMe fundraiser that was launched in December 2018.
In a statement announcing the charges, Audrey Strauss, the 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 personally pocketed $1 million in contributions meant for construction of the border wall, funneled through a nonprofit under his control, prosecutors alleged.
He allegedly gave some of the dough to triple amputee and Air Force vet Brian Kolfage, who is accused of using that money and more he skimmed from the foundation to live a lavish lifestyle with his wife Ashley.
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