President Trump is considering a pardon for former adviser Steve Bannon during his final days in office, two people with knowledge of the matter told Politico on Friday.
Bannon, formerly the CEO of Breitbart News, was the architect of Trump’s 2016 campaign and chief White House strategist until August 2017.
However, Bannon was arrested in August 2020 after being indicted for allegedly defrauding donors who contributed to “We Build the Wall,” a group claiming to raise funds toward the construction of a U.S.–Mexican border wall. Federal prosecutors allege that Bannon, Brian Kolfage, and other heads of the group funneled donations to Kolfage for personal use.
“While repeatedly assuring donors that Brian Kolfage, the founder and public face of We Build the Wall, would not be paid a cent, the defendants secretly schemed to pass hundreds of thousands of dollars to Kolfage, which he used to fund his lavish lifestyle,” U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Audrey Strauss said at the time of the indictment.
Trump broke contact with Bannon after he was fired from the president’s administration, however the two began speaking again in recent months to strategize on how to overturn the election results, one person told Politico.
While Bannon himself has not been convicted, the president has pardoned a number of associates with criminal convictions. These include former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was convicted of bank and tax fraud and illegal foreign lobbying, and political operative Roger Stone, charged with lying to Congress, witness tampering, and obstruction of the House’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s connections to Russia.