Steve Bannon believes President Donald Trump may have committed the greatest mistake in modern American political history when he fired FBI Director James Comey this May.
In an interviewed that aired Sunday night on CBS’s 60 Minutes, Bannon — who served as Trump’s chief White House strategist before being pushed out this August — appeared to confirm that he urged against firing Comey. Trump’s sudden dismissal of the FBI director led the Justice Department to appoint Robert Mueller as special counsel in an investigation that could doom the administration.
2. WATCH: Bannon says firing of Comey was the biggest mistake in modern political history. Also, he refuses to answer if Kushner was for it. pic.twitter.com/d0zcZgowd1— Yashar Ali (@yashar) September 11, 2017
Though Bannon didn’t expound at length of his interpretation of the firing, he suggested that Trump made a mistake by turning the bureau beyond Comey against him.
“I am a big believer, in this city, that this is a city of institutions, not individuals,” he said. “You have to look at it as an institution.”
Here’s Bannon’s exchange with CBS’s Charlie Rose:
CHARLIE ROSE: Were you in favor of [Comey] being fired?
STEVE BANNON: It’s been reported in the media that I was adamantly opposed [to Comey’s firing]. I don’t want to talk about private conversations, but in the media it’s been reported. I was adamantly opposed—
ROSE: In this case, the media’s right.
BANNON: It’s been reported — I am a big believer, in this city, that this is a city of institutions not individuals. You have to look at it as an institution. The FBI is an institution. ...
ROSE: It is also true, many say — and you’re a smart guy — that if James Comey had not been fired you wouldn’t have the Mueller investigation. True?
BANNON: I don’t think there’s any doubt that if James Comey had not been fired we would not have a special counsel.
ROSE: So you wouldn’t have the Mueller investigation.
BANNON: You wouldn’t have the Muller investigation in the breadth that clearly Mr. Mueller is going for. Because directionally it’s a very different—
ROSE: Do you believe Mr. Mueller should be fired?
BANNON: No, I do not.
ROSE: Someone told me that you described James Comey’s firing — you’re a student of history — as the biggest mistake in political history.
BANNON: That would probably be too bombastic, even for me, but maybe in modern political history.