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Steve Bannon beats a hasty retreat from 'treason' comments

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Steve Bannon beats a hasty retreat from 'treason' comments

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Donald Trump's former strategist Steve Bannon has backed away from remarks in which he called the president's son "treasonous".

He was referring to a meeting in June 2016 between Trump's son and a group of Russians. But Bannon has now said the comment was directed at former aide Paul Manafort, who was also present.

The Senate, House of Representatives and a special counsel are all investigating alleged Russian interference in the presidential election, allegations denied by both the Kremlin and Donald Trump.

The accusation appeared in a book published last week which includes a series of damning criticisms about the president, his mental state and reportedly dysfunctional administration.

Since the explosive comments officials including CIA Director Mike Pompeo have been defending Trump.

"I'm with the President nearly every day. We engage in complex conversations about some of the most weighty matters facing the world. I deliver to him this exquisite product that's been developed by my officers. He engages in a way that shows his understanding of the complexity. He asks really hard questions. My observation of the President is that, you know, we deal in serious matters and that this book is in no way that."

Since the publication of Michael Wolff's "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House", Trump has unleashed a scathing attack on Bannon. At the same time the main financial backer of Bannon's Breitbart website, heiress Rebekah Mercer, has made a rare statement saying she had cut him off from funding.