Bannon backs away from remarks that drew Trump's ire
Former Donald Trump advisor Steve Bannon on Sunday sought to back away from incendiary remarks quoted in an explosive new book that have landed him in hot water with the president he helped elect. 
Bannon has found himself in dire straits since excerpts of Michael Wolff's "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House", an explosive behind-the-scenes account that questions the president's fitness for office, were first published on Wednesday. 
He has been abandoned by financial patrons, condemned by erstwhile political allies and ridiculed by Trump himself over his reported comments in the book, which he has not denied making. 
In the book, Bannon is quoted as saying a pre-election meeting involving son Donald Trump Jr. and a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer was "treasonous," and that prosecutors investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia would "crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV." 
Copies of the book "Fire and Fury" by author Michael Wolff /VCG Photo

Copies of the book "Fire and Fury" by author Michael Wolff /VCG Photo

In a statement to the Axios news website, Bannon, who was a senior Trump advisor until he was ousted in August, said: "Donald Trump Jr. is both a patriot and a good man. He has been relentless in his advocacy for his father and the agenda that has helped turn our country around."
His criticism, Bannon said, was aimed at onetime Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, "a seasoned campaign professional" who "should have known (the Russians) are duplicitous, cunning and not our friends."  – 'I regret my delay' – But in "Fire and Fury," Bannon is quoted as saying that "the top three guys in the campaign" – Manafort, Donald Jr. and Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner – attended the meeting he described as "treasonous."  
The closest Bannon came to an actual apology was saying he regretted the timing of his response.
"I regret that my delay in responding to the inaccurate reporting regarding Don Jr. has diverted attention from the president's historical accomplishments." 
Trump on Sunday continued his daily assault on "Fire and Fury" and its author, tweeting that the book – which paints him as disengaged, ill-informed and unstable, with signs of serious memory loss – was a "Fake Book, written by a totally discredited author." 
Screenshot from Trump's Twitter handle

Screenshot from Trump's Twitter handle

A day earlier, seeking to refute Wolff's suggestion that he lacked stability, Trump called himself a "very stable genius." 
Screenshot from Trump's Twitter handle

Screenshot from Trump's Twitter handle

Senior Trump policy advisor Stephen Miller treated the book derisively while insisting that his boss was in fact "a political genius," in an interview with CNN on Sunday. Wolff, Miller said, "is a garbage author of a garbage book." 
He assailed Bannon, reportedly a key source for the author, as "vindictive" and "out of touch with reality." – 'Not going to succeed' – Wolff defended his work on Sunday, telling NBC he "absolutely did not" violate any off-the-record agreements in his reporting but conceding, of the total three hours he said he spent with Trump, that the president "probably did not think of them as interviews." 
Source(s): AFP