'The meddling was on the margin': Steve Bannon downplays Russia's impact on the 2016 election

  • Steve Bannon, a former top advisor to President Donald Trump and the former executive chairman of right-wing news site Breitbart, said Wednesday that any meddling from Russian sources was "on the margin."
  • Bannon pushed back on suggestions that an alleged Russian influence campaign waged in Trump's favor during the 2016 campaign affected the outcome of the election.
  • "I think it changed maybe $100,000 worth of Facebook ads? Give me a break. The meddling was on the margin," Bannon said.

Steve Bannon isn't losing sleep over Russia's interference in the 2016 election.

Bannon, an ex-top advisor to President Donald Trump and the former boss of right-wing news site Breitbart, said Wednesday that any meddling from Russian sources was "on the margin."

Speaking at CNBC's "Delivering Alpha" conference in New York, Bannon pushed back on suggestions that an alleged Russian influence campaign waged in Trump's favor during the 2016 campaign affected the outcome of the election.

"I think it changed maybe $100,000 worth of Facebook ads? Give me a break. The meddling was on the margin," Bannon said, responding to recent reports that former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper argues Russia likely swung the election to Trump in his forthcoming memoir.

"And collusion, they haven't found one shred of evidence," Bannon added. Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating Russia's efforts to interfere in the 2016 election, as well as potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Trump, too, has repeatedly said any foreign interference had no impact on the election, and has regularly asserted that there was no collusion. At a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, Trump refused to side with his intelligence agencies over the Kremlin, which asserts Russia neither interfered nor colluded with Trump's campaign.

While Trump was roundly criticized by leaders of both major political parties for his comments in Helsinki, Finland, Bannon said he and the Republican Party will not be hurt in the 2018 midterm elections.

"They do not want to face Donald Trump," Bannon said of Democrats. "If we make this a referendum on Donald Trump and his policies in his totality, versus impeachment, we'll hold the House ... and I think we're going to pick up two, three, maybe four seats in the Senate."

Previous Years

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  • Delivering Alpha 2017 stage, signage

    Meet the 2017 advisory board of Delivering Alpha, which takes place on September 12, 2017 at The Pierre in New York City.

  • The stage at Delivering Alpha 2016 in New York on Sept. 13, 2016.

    CNBC and Institutional Investor hosted the 6th Annual Delivering Alpha Conference on September 13, 2016.

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