Former White House strategist Steve Bannon defended President Trump for retaliating against those who testified against him, saying he’s “mad” about the constant stream of investigations into his administration.
“He is mad and should be mad. The Democrats and the media wasted three years of the nation’s time on a witch hunt,” Bannon told the Washington Post on Wednesday.
“Now he understands how to use the full powers of the presidency,” he continued. “The pearl-clutchers better get used to it.”
His comments come after Trump fired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a White House national security official who testified to a House committee about Trump’s phone call with the Ukrainian president, and railed about the prison sentence recommended for longtime ally Roger Stone.
Hours after Trump tweeted about federal prosecutors’ suggestion that Stone be sentenced to up to nine years in prison, the Justice Department overruled them and sent the judge a new memorandum seeking a more lenient sentence.
The four prosecutors immediately withdrew from the case.
Stone was convicted by a federal jury in November of lying to the FBI during the investigation into Russian collusion in the 2016 election and tampering with a witness.
Trump wouldn’t say whether he would pardon Stone while talking to reporters at the White House on Wednesday, but continued to complain about how Stone has been treated.
“I don’t want to say that yet, but I tell you people were hurt, viciously and badly by these corrupt people,” Trump said.
He went on to thank the Justice Department for intervening.
“They saw the horribleness of a nine-year sentence for doing nothing. You have murderers and drug addicts that don’t get nine years. Nine years for doing something that nobody even can define what he did,” the president said.
Vindman and his twin brother, Lt. Col. Yevgeny S. Vindman, who was also assigned to the NSC, were escorted from the White House last Friday.
Hours later, Trump ousted Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the European Union.
Sondland, who donated $1 million to Trump’s inauguration, also testified to a House panel about Trump’s call to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, which became the basis for the impeachment hearings.
The Senate last Wednesday acquitted Trump on the two articles of impeachment approved by the House in December with all Republicans, except Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, voting against the abuse-of-power charge.
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