Fox has recently been sucking up to Steve Bannon but this morning, he was tossed under the bus, just like Donald Trump did, as if he hadn’t appeared on the network quite a few times as a trusted pundit.
This morning, Bannon and three cohorts were arrested for defrauding donors in a crowdfunding campaign to build the wall (that Trump promised Mexico would pay for). From The Washington Post:
Prosecutors alleged that Bannon and [Brian] Kolfage along with two others — Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea — routed payments from the crowdfunding campaign through the nonprofit and another shell company, disguising them with fake invoices to help keep their personal pay secret.
Trump, of course, immediately distanced himself from Bannon. The Post reported him saying, “I don’t like that project” and “I thought it was being done for showboating reasons.”
Not surprisingly, that turns out to be another Trump lie. Kris Kobach, an adviser to the group, told The New York Times last year that Trump had given his blessing to the project. The nonprofit's board includes such Trump cronies as Erik Prince and former Sheriff David Clarke.
Meanwhile, Bannon is the eighth Trump associate to be arrested or convicted of crimes.
Not surprisingly, the question of how so many of Trump’s “best people” wind up on the wrong side of the law, never came up in a Fox discussion with former Congressman and current Fox News contributor Trey Gowdy (R-SC). Gowdy spent two years and $7 million of taxpayer money investigating the nothingburger that was Benghazi. But he helped demonize Bannon without questioning Trump’s judgment in making him a campaign chief and then White House chief strategist. Nor did anybody mention that another Trump campaign manager, Paul Manafort, is currently in jail for tax fraud and bank fraud.
Instead, Gowdy focused on distancing Bannon from Trump.
TRACE GALLAGHER (ANCHOR): I’m not a lawyer but I know enough to know when the Feds have your text messages, it’s a bad thing.
GOWDY: Trace, let’s make sure your viewers know who Steve Bannon is. He's the same guy who claimed credit for the president’s victory. He wrote a kiss-and-tell book when he left the White House, accused Donald Trump Jr. of an act of treason, said there was zero chance the president didn’t now about the Trump Tower meeting. And he's the only person on the planet - literally, Trace, the only person on the planet that can elect a Democrat in Alabama because he backed Roy Moore. That’s Steve Bannon.
Having said that, I’m not one who wants to burn the justice system down. We have a presumption of innocence. The indictment's a formal charge, it is not evidence. But what you just laid out, what the Southern District just laid out is a classic fraud scheme.
Gallagher went on to discuss a few more details of the matter. He played a 2019 clip of Bannon boasting about a sector of the border wall his group supposedly built near El Paso that “stopped the incursions 100%.” Gallagher and Gowdy also speculated on whether the defendants will be able to defend their expenditures as “administrative costs.”
Then the two agreed to wait and see how the legal process plays out because the indictment is only “the first step,” as Gowdy put it.
Not mentioned? Bannon has been repeatedly and warmly welcomed on Fox News of late. The network has also promoted, via puff pieces, Bannon’s Build the Wall organization. The network even mocked Jimmy Kimmel for mocking the donors as wasting their money.
You can watch Mr. Benghazi Gowdy ignore the parade of crooked Trump associates below, from the August 20, 2020 America’s Newsroom.