Steve Bannon 60 Minutes interview: highlights and excerpts
Steve Bannon helmed the Trump campaign through victory and spent a brief tenure in the West Wing as chief strategist. Now back to running Breitbart News, Bannon had never given a television interview. Until now.
This week on 60 Minutes, correspondent Charlie Rose speaks with Bannon in a wide-ranging interview. A self-proclaimed "streetfighter," Bannon had come ready to brawl — mostly with other Republicans.
Here are the highlights of the interview, in case you missed them.
When Rose asks Bannon how he responds to criticism of President Trump on national security by members of his own party, Bannon bristles.
"This is once again where the narrative is dead wrong," he tells Rose.
Bannon's narrative is one of numerous failures by the George W. Bush administration, including invading Iraq and letting China into the World Trade Organization.
"I hold these people in contempt, total and complete contempt," Bannon says, later calling members of the Bush administration "idiots."
Bannon tells Rose that current Republican leadership — namely Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan — are trying to undermine President Trump's political agenda.
"The Republican establishment is trying to nullify the 2016 election," Bannon says. He went on to reveal that McConnell warned Trump in one of their first meetings that he didn't want to "hear any more of this 'drain the swamp' talk."
"They do not want Donald Trump's populist, economic nationalist agenda to be implemented," Bannon says. "It's very obvious."
Another prominent item on President Trump's agenda was the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare —specifically, to repeal and replace it. Bannon says Speaker Ryan promised to have a replacement in place by Easter break.
"There is a wide discrepancy in the Republican Party, as we know today, now that we're in it," Bannon says, referring to the shortcoming of votes needed to repeal Obamacare. "But I will tell you, leadership didn't know it at the time."
Bannon now says Republicans are working on legislation to fix Obamacare — not to replace it.
"I think their choice is going to be you're not going to be able to totally repeal it," he says.
Despite almost daily updates coming out about special counsel Robert S. Mueller's investigation about possible Russian involvement in last year's election, Bannon says there's nothing to it.
"It's a waste of time," he tells Rose in the clip above.
After Rose presses him about whether or not Russians tried to influence last year's election, Bannon moderates his tone, saying "We'll have to wait till the investigation is finished."
Bannon also discusses the fallout after the "Access Hollywood" tape leaked just weeks before the election. In the video, which was obtained by the Washington Post, Donald Trump talked with Billy Bush about groping women. His campaign spun into crisis mode, and he met with advisors the Saturday after the story broke.
"The Billy Bush Saturday to me is a litmus test," Bannon says, recalling the meeting. "When you side with a man, you side with him, okay? The good and the bad. You can criticize him behind, but when you side with him, you have to side with him. And that's what the Billy Bush weekend showed me."
One advisor who did not offer his full-throated support during the "Billy Bush weekend" was Chris Christie — and as a result, he was, Bannon says, passed over for a cabinet position.
"I told him, 'The plane leaves at 11:00 in the morning. If you're on the plane, you're on the team,'" Bannon recalls.
"[He] didn't make the plane."
Steve Bannon's not done... There's more, including his thoughts on the North Korea problem, President Trump's low approval ratings, and Hillary Clinton.