Politics

Steve Bannon on impeachment: Trump is not just looking for a Senate acquittal but exoneration

Key Points
  • President Trump won't be satisfied with an acquittal in the Senate if the House impeachment were to go forward as expected, says Steve Bannon.
  • Trump "needs to be exonerated," says the former White House chief strategist. "I don't think Trump will look for simple acquittal. He'll want to be exonerated."
  • The House Judiciary Committee has taken the first steps toward voting on two articles of impeachment introduced by Democrats.
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Bannon on impeachment: Trump is not only seeking a Senate acquital but exoneration

President Donald Trump won't be satisfied with an acquittal in the Senate if the House impeachment were to go forward as expected, Steve Bannon told CNBC on Thursday.

Trump "needs to be exonerated," said the former White House chief strategist, who also formerly ran far-right media outlet Breitbart News. "I don't think Trump will look for simple acquittal. He'll want to be exonerated."

The House Judiciary Committee has taken the first steps toward voting on two articles of impeachment introduced by Democrats. Trump is being charged with abuse of power for asking Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden while withholding aid as leverage, and with obstruction of Congress for stonewalling the House investigation.

Bannon blasted the impeachment inquiry, labeling it a "show trial," saying the high-level July phone call between Trump and Ukraine's leader is what the president was "hired to do."

Trump "believes, and I think his followers believe, and now all of the Republican Party believes that what he did was correct," Bannon added in a "Squawk Box" interview.

The House is expected to vote on the impeachment articles next week, in the days before Christmas. That would send them to the Republican-held Senate for a 2020 trial.

Bannon sees a Senate trial as a "foregone conclusion" in the president's favor.

Hogan Gidley, deputy White House press secretary, emailed a comment to CNBC, saying, "The president has done nothing wrong, and the House should stop this ridiculous illegitimate impeachment sham, but he is absolutely ready for anything in the Senate."

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, speaking to The Washington Post, said she expects Trump to be exonerated. "The president will address these false charges in the Senate and expects to be fully exonerated, because he did nothing wrong."

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.