Steve Bannon Was Accusing Donald Trump Jr. of Treason, 'Fire and Fury' Author Michael Wolff Insists

Steve Bannon addresses the California GOP 2017 Convention in Anaheim, California on October 20, 2017. AFP via Getty Images/Frederic J. Brown

Steve Bannon indeed said President Donald Trump's eldest son was "treasonous" and "unpatriotic," despite his denials about those insults, according to Fire and Fury author Michael Wolff.

Wolff on Monday shot down Bannon's belated claims that he had been talking about former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, not Donald Trump Jr., when he made the raging remarks reported in Wolff's new book.

"I like Steve, I'm grateful for the time he gave me, the insights he gave me and I don't want to put him in more hot water than he's already in," Wolff told MSNBC Monday morning.

But Wolff noted about Bannon's fury: "It was not directed at Manafort, it was directed directly at Don Jr."

Wolff then confirmed that Bannon was talking about Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election meddling when Bannon said that Trump Jr. would be "cracked like an egg" on national television.

"[Bannon] believes that there was obstruction here," Wolff said. "I think he believes that Don. Jr. had no idea what he was doing."

Wolff says he doesn't want to put Bannon in any more hot water, but, responding to his statement, says, "It was not directed at Manafort, it was directed directly at Don Jr."

— Betsy Klein (@betsy_klein) January 8, 2018

In Wolff's book, Bannon is quoted complaining about Trump Jr. for taking a Trump Tower appointment in June 2016 with Russians who promised dirt on Hillary Clinton. Trump was joined at the meeting by Manafort and Jared Kushner. The meeting has become a focal point of the investigations into the Trump campaign's suspected collusion with Russia.

"Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad shit, and I happen to think it's all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately," Bannon said, according to Wolff. Wolff said Bannon also believed Trump Jr. took the meeting to impress his father.

After the book sparked an out-and-open feud between Bannon and the president, Bannon offered an apology and claimed Wolff got it wrong.

"My comments were aimed at Paul Manafort, a seasoned campaign professional with experience and knowledge of how the Russians operate," Bannon told Axios on Sunday. "He should have known they are duplicitous, cunning and not our friends. To reiterate, those comments were not aimed at Don Jr."

Bannon also praised Trump Jr., who has faced scrutiny by congressional investigators over the meeting, while showing regret about what he told Wolff.

"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," he said.

Bannon added, "I regret that my delay in responding to the inaccurate reporting regarding Don Jr. has diverted attention from the president's historical accomplishments in the first year of his presidency."

Manafort previously ran a campaign for an exiled, Russia-backed former Ukrainian president and his party, receiving some $12.7 million over five years. In August 2016, Manafort left the Trump campaign after reports surfaced of Ukraine officials discovering a ledger showing the alleged payments.

Manafort, along with fellow former campaign official Rick Gates, was hit by a 12-count indictment from Mueller's probe in October. The charges include allegedly laundering $75 million in foreign accounts, but there were no allegations of election collusion with Russians.

Related: Will Trump Be Interviewed By Mueller?

Wolff's book has left the White House reeling since excerpts of it trickled out last week before it was rushed to publication Friday. The president's lawyers unsuccessfully tried to stop its release citing defamation, libel and malice.

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