* Architect of Trump's 2016 win is known for his right-wing views
Steve Bannon, an architect of Donald Trump’s 2016 election victory, has been charged with defrauding Trump supporters in a campaign to help build the president’s signature wall along the US-Mexico border, prosecutors said yesterday.
As a top adviser to Trump’s presidential campaign who later served as White House chief strategist, Bannon helped articulate the right-wing populism and fierce opposition to immigration that have been hallmarks of Trump’s 3-1/2 years in office.
Trump fired Bannon from his White House post in August 2017.
Bannon, Brian Kolfage, Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea allegedly defrauded donors of the online crowdfunding campaign known as “We Build The Wall,” which raised more than $25mn.
“As alleged, the defendants defrauded hundreds of thousands of donors, capitalising on their interest in funding a border wall to raise millions of dollars, under the false pretense that all of that money would be spent on construction,” acting US Attorney Audrey Strauss said.
They each face up to 40 years in prison.
Prosecutors said Bannon received more than $1mn of the $25mn, through an unnamed nonprofit organisation.
Trump told reporters at the White House that he feels “very badly” about Bannon’s charges but sought to distance himself from Bannon and the alleged scheme at the centre of the case.
A company with close ties to Bannon was hired by the United Arab Emirates in 2017 to launch an anti-Qatar social media campaign.
SCL Social Limited disclosed a $330,000 contract with the UAE for “a wide range of services specific to a global media campaign”, shortly after Bannon resigned from the White House in August.
In October 2017, the former White House chief strategist made a rare public appearance at the Hudson Institute, a neoconservative Washington think tank and spoke against Qatar, while praising the countries that have imposed a blockade against it.
He is regarded as one of the architects of the blockade against Qatar who colluded with the siege-quartet to plan the unjust move against Doha.
Bannon represents the latest close Trump associate to face criminal charges, a list that also includes former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.Last updated: August 21 2020 01:35 AM