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Steve Bannon left the White House, but Trump aides can't escape him

David Jackson
Steve Bannon
Samuel Corum | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

It might as well have been Steve Bannon Day at Monday's White House briefing.

Reporters repeatedly quizzed White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders about Bannon's more bracing comments during a recent 60 Minutes interview – and Sanders managed to avoid talking at length about President Trump's former senior strategist who left the White House last month.

"I think we may be answering more questions on Steve Bannon now that he's not here than when he was," Sanders said.

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That's because Bannon, who is now executive chairman at Breitbart News, since leaving the White House has pledged to "go to war" for Trump against his opponents.

The former strategist is now more free to publicly express his views – and reporters wanted to know if the firebrand former strategist speaks for the president.

Bannon told CBS:

• Trump's decision to fire FBI Director James Comey in May may been the worst political mistake in modern political history, given that it opened the door for the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate Russian activity during last year's election.

• Immigrants brought into the country illegally as children who are protected from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program should simply "self-deport" when their work permits expire, now that Trump has rescinded the Obama-era order.

• Republican congressional leaders like Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan actually oppose the Trump agenda on trade and other issues. Bannon has threatened to back primary challengers to Republican congressional incumbents who displease him.

Sanders did defend Trump's dismissal of Comey, saying it was the right decision. She disputed Bannon's claim that reconsideration of the president's position on DACA could lead to a Republican civil war.

"I think that Steve always likes to speak in kind of the most extreme measures," Sanders said.

Sanders also said she doesn't know if Trump watched the controversial interview or not, or what he thought about Bannon's comments.

"I'm not sure if he was disappointed," she said.