24/08/2020 7:56 AM AEST

Trump Has A Record Of 'Hiring Excellent People,' Adviser Says After Bannon Arrest

Jason Miller defended Donald Trump's inner circle as "great people" even though seven of his former associates were charged with federal crimes.

US President Donald Trump has a track record of “hiring excellent people,” a senior adviser said Sunday in response to the arrest of former Trump adviser Steve Bannon ― the seventh arrest of a member of Trump’s 2016 campaign team on federal charges.

“I think you take a look at the great people President Trump has surrounded himself with, some of the brilliant women and some of the brilliant leaders,” Jason Miller said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” He added: “I would say that overall the president has had a very good track record of hiring excellent people.”

When confronted with the prior indictments or convictions of several other Trump staffers ― specifically Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, Michael Cohen, Roger Stone ― Miller said each had “made some serious mistakes in their life that had nothing to do with President Trump.”

President Donald Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon leaves federal court in New York on Thursday after pleading not guilty to charges that he ripped off donors to an online fundraising scheme to build a southern border wall.

Miller went on to name some of Trump’s current senior staff, including Stephen Miller and Kellyanne Conway, as individuals he’s “proud to call” his teammates.

Bannon, the former executive chairman of Breitbart News, joined the Trump campaign in 2016 and served as chief strategist in the White House until he was forced out in August 2017.

He pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of wire fraud and money laundering after he was accused of defrauding donors to a $25 million fundraising campaign to build a wall along the Texas-Mexico border. 

Miller called the charges against Bannon “very serious” and said he hopes Bannon “has the opportunity to tell his side of the story.”

“I hope that Steve has some good answers for the things that he’s been accused of,” he said.

MANDEL NGAN via Getty Images
Jason Miller served as a senior communications adviser to Trump during the 2016 campaign.

Miller served as a senior communications adviser to Trump during the 2016 campaign. In 2019, he launched a podcast with Bannon that covered Trump’s impeachment. 

Miller denied to NBC’s Chuck Todd that he was interviewed by the Department of Justice in relation to the allegations against Bannon and added that he was never involved with Bannon’s border wall campaign. 

Trump named Miller White House communications director, but he withdrew from the job after reports of an extramarital affair with a fellow campaign official, which resulted in a legal battle over attorney fees and child support. Miller rejoined the Trump campaign in June as a senior adviser, Politico reported.

Todd also asked Miller about audio released Saturday of Trump’s older sister, former federal judge Maryanne Trump Barry, in which she disparaged her brother.

“He has no principles. None. None. And his base, I mean, my God, if you were a religious person, you want to help people — not do this,” Barry told her niece, Mary Trump, in recorded audio obtained by The Washington Post. “His goddamned tweet[s] and lying, oh, my God. I’m talking too freely, but you know, the change of stories, the lack of preparation, the lying — holy shit.” 

Miller brushed off Barry’s comments, chalking them up to “sibling rivalries.”

“When you get to the White House you have family members who decide to voice their sibling rivalries,” he said.