Roger Stone, the conservative political consultant and lobbyist who has worked on Republican campaigns from Richard Nixon to Donald Trump, has said that former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon blackmailed Mr Trump to give him a pardon.
Speaking to InfoWars, Mr Stone said: “Steve Bannon publicly accused the president of having Alzheimer’s, he said the Trump Organization was a criminal enterprise, he said that Trump would be prosecuted.
“I could do this almost verbatim: ‘When the American people learn he’s not a billionaire, he’s just another scumbag’,” Mr Stone quoted Mr Bannon as saying.
“His defenders say ‘oh well, that was two years ago’ – doesn’t matter when it was,” Mr Stone added.
When asked why Mr Trump gave Mr Bannon a pardon, Mr Stone said: “I think he was blackmailed, that’s what I think.”
“Let’s be very clear. Not only did Steve Bannon steal the name of my Infowars show with the great American Owen Shroyer, ‘The War Room,’ but he testified falsely at my trial against me. He was an informant for Robert Mueller,” Mr Stone said during his InfoWars appearance.
Roger Stone said today that Steve Bannon blackmailed Trump into giving him a pardon, because he wouldn’t have done it otherwise after Bannon said Trump had Alzheimer’s, said he wasn’t a billionaire, and called him a scumbag. pic.twitter.com/ZMls1NIKxJ
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) June 3, 2021
“So right now, here, today, I am challenging Steve Bannon to come on Infowars and debate this, let’s have it out. Alex [Jones], you can moderate it, so it stays civil,” he told the host.
The 68-year-old added that Mr Bannon “needs to answer as to why he was working with Robert Mueller to destroy me and send me to prison. So there it is, the gauntlet has been laid down, big Steve. Come on, sloppy Steve. We can find you a suit and tie that is clean, I think, and you should come on Infowars and answer what I just said”.
Mr Stone wrote on the conservative social media platform Gab in May that Mr Bannon “was an informant for Robert Mueller and indisputably perjured himself at my trial. He also accused Donald Trump Jr of being a Russian traitor and insisted that President Donald Trump was suffering from Alzheimer’s”.
He added: “If you see this fat dishevelled load of s***, I strongly recommend that you punch him in the mouth as hard as you possibly can. Do it for America!”
What appears to have angered Mr Stone is that Mr Bannon told a federal court in 2019 that Mr Stone was the link between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks.
“The campaign had no official access to WikiLeaks or to Julian Assange,” Mr Bannon said, Newsweek reported. “But Roger would be considered if we needed an access point.”
Mr Bannon claimed that Mr Stone “implied that he had a connection with WikiLeaks,” but that he never clearly stated that he did.
After the Mueller probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, Mr Stone was indicted on seven counts, such as witness tampering and lying to congress. He was found guilty and was sentenced to three years in prison, but President Trump commuted his sentence last year.
Mr Bannon was indicted in August of last year for defrauding “hundreds of thousands of donors, capitalising on their interest in funding a border wall to raise millions of dollars, under the false pretence that all of that money would be spent on construction,” according to then-acting US attorney Audrey Strauss.
Mr Stone told New York Magazine: “Karma is a b****. But I am praying for him.”
The Independent has reached out to Mr Bannon for comment.