Ex-White House adviser Bannon still wielding influence, at least at the White House briefing

After the fifth question in a row about former adviser Stephen K. Bannon during Monday’s White House news briefing, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was mildly annoyed.

“I think we may be answering more questions on Steve Bannon, now that he’s not here, than when he was,” she said. “But go ahead.”

Five more questions about Bannon and his “60 Minutes” interview followed.

“Did the president happen to watch the interview? Any reaction?”

“Did you happen to watch the interview on ’60 Minutes’? Any reaction?”

Bannon had declared war Sunday against the Republican congressional leadership, saying Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) are “trying to nullify the 2016 election.”

Bannon, who left his White House job last month, also called former FBI director James B. Comey’s firing a mistake, said top White House economic adviser Gary Cohn should resign and a few other newsworthy things, so there was some ground to cover.

Sanders said she was not sure Trump had seen the entire interview.

“I know he has seen clips of it, but I don’t know that he watched the entire thing,” she said.

“And you did?” a reporter asked.

“I did watch parts of it.”

What was her reaction? Was she disappointed? Did she think it inappropriate for a former staffer to speak freely about internal White House goings-on? And on and on.

“I’m sure it made for great TV,” Sanders replied. “I’m sure CBS will be happy to put those ratings out. As for me, I’m here to speak on behalf of the administration.”

As to whether Bannon is correct in his prediction of a “civil war” among Republicans over the fate of young undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, Sanders said this:

“I think that Steve always likes to speak in, kind of, the most extreme measures. I’m not sure that I agree with that.”

When the next questioner switched topics, Sanders cracked, “wow.”

“Maybe you get two questions,” she added.

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