Federal prosecutors have charged Steve Bannon and three others with defrauding donors in a border wall fundraising campaign. Bannon, Trump’s former campaign adviser, has been arrested. Elie Honig, CNN’s legal analyst, said this is “essentially, a massive embezzlement that’s being alleged here and a fraud.”
The alleged fraud is in the way that the defendants, including Steve Bannon, marketed this “build the wall” operation, Honig explained.
“They essentially marketed it as an operation where, if you donated, this money is going to be used to build the border wall,” he said. “But instead — this is the embezzlement part — Bannon and the other defendants essentially pocketed that money. They used it to fund their own lavish lifestyle.”
“In a way, it’s really a straight-forward fraud and embezzlement case and the evidence looks quite strong to me,” he added.
Given the potential political nature of the case, the charges would have to be at least notified to typically to the deputy attorney general, according to Honig, who added that the deputy would have certainly notified Attorney General Bill Barr.
“I think the most reasonable way to look at this is that this was approved,” he said. “The SDNY is famously independent from politics.”
However, it is still under the supervision of the attorney general and in a case like this with potential political implications, it has to go to the main justice and the attorney general, he explained.