Former FBI director James Comey has described Steve Bannon as being “in a world of trouble” on Sunday after the former Trump campaign organiser and White House adviser was arrested and charged with taking donations from southern border wall fundraising.
“It’s another reminder of the kind of people this president surrounds himself with”, Comey said in an interview with CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday.
“At this point they could almost start their own crime family,” Comey told CBS.
Comey appeared to echo his own book - Higher Loyalty, which was released in April 2018, where he compares President Trump, who relieved him of his position in May the previous year, to mafia bosses.
“It’s a very serious case. The southern district of New York has laid it out in a very detailed indictment called a speaking indictment, and he’s in a world of trouble", Comey said.
He describes the case as "very serious" with a huge amount of money stolen from innocent victims.
“That’ll drive up potential punishments", he added.
Comey, who served as the US attorney for Southern District of New York, where Bannon was indicted, said that the former presidential advisor is in trouble because the "indictment lays it out in such detail", including excerpts from texts.
“I don’t know what the next steps are for him and his co-defendants, but that’s what I meant by ‘world of trouble'", he said.
Bannon has pleaded not guilty but is facing 20 years of incarceration if he is convicted. He was released on a $5m bond, with $1.75m in cash or real estate.
The former Trump manager has until 3 September to find collateral. Three other individuals - Brian Kolfage, Andrew Badolato, and Timothy Shea - have also been arrested in connection with allegations that they worked to defraud the We Build the Wall campaign, which raised more than $25m, according to authorities.
The three have not yet entered pleas. In a statement on his Facebook page on Saturday, Kolfage said he had “obtained one of the best super lawyers around who isn’t afraid to fight back at the politically motivated assaults against me”.
Bannon is just the latest Trump-associated figure to find himself facing jail time. Former campaign chair Paul Manafort, former lawyer Michael Cohen, and former national security adviser Michael Flynn have all faced charges after being found guilty for various crimes.
Comey was fired by Trump as FBI director after trying unsuccessfully to secure a personal oath of loyalty to the president.