President Donald Trump’s former adviser Steve Bannon on Friday called his arrest yesterday a “political hit job” and vowed to fight the charges against him of fraud tied to a fundraising campaign purportedly aimed at supporting Trump’s border wall.
“I’m not going to back down. This is a political hit job,” Bannon said Friday on his conservative podcast, “War Room.” “Everybody knows I love a fight.”
Bannon claimed his arrest was “to stop and intimidate people” that support Trump building the wall on the US southern border.
“I’m in this for the long-haul. I’m in this for the fight. I’m going to continue to fight,” Bannon said.
Bannon and three others were indicted Thursday for allegedly using hundreds of thousands of dollars donated to an online crowdfunding campaign called We Build the Wall for personal expenses, among other things.
Bannon and another defendant, Brian Kolfage, had promised donors that the campaign — which ultimately raised more than $25 million — would use 100% of those funds to help construct the border wall, according to the indictment.
Instead, according to prosecutors, he used more than $1 million from We Build the Wall to “secretly” pay Kolfage and cover hundreds of thousands of dollars in Bannon’s personal expenses.
The President’s former adviser was also charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. He pleaded not guilty to the charges and on Friday, he told his podcast listeners that the charges against him were “nonsense.”
Kolfage told CNN that the indictment got things wrong.
“They lumped every purchase I’ve made in the past two years into the indictment, even before [We Build the Wall], not taking into account the fact I have other sources of income to pay for things,” Kolfage wrote in an email Friday.
Kolfage said he runs a data operation for campaigns. He also said he only bought a luxury car after selling Range Rovers that he previously owned.
He added, “but of course they don’t tell the whole story… I’ve invested my money wisely and can afford nice things.”
“Like Bannon said: ‘It’s a ‘Fiasco,'” Kolfage said.
Kolfage did not respond to a question on how he plans to plead to the charges.