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18.02 18 Aug 2017


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Updated 19.30

Donald Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon will leave his post, the White House has confirmed.

CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post and several other major outlets reported the news on Friday evening.

In a statement, the White House confirmed that Trump's chief of staff John Kelly and Mr Bannon "have mutually agreed today would be Steve's last day."

"We are grateful for his service & wish him the best," the statement adds.

His departure follows a number of other high-profile resignations and firings in recent weeks, including press secretary Sean Spicer, chief of Staff Reince Priebus, and communications director Anthony Scaramucci - the latter losing his job after only ten days in the role.

There had been increasing calls by activists for Mr Bannon - who is the former chair of the far-right Breitbart News website - to be fired in the wake of the Charlottesville violence last weekend.

Mr Bannon had previously described his former website as 'the platform for the alt-right'.

The senior adviser to the US president made headlines earlier this week when the magazine American Prospect published excerpts from an interview in which Mr Bannon appeared to contradict many of the administration's public stances.

Bannon hit out at the white nationalist protesters in Charlottesville, describing the movement as "a fringe element".

"I think the media plays it up too much, and we gotta help crush it," he said. "These guys are a collection of clowns."

The comments came as Mr Trump continued to insist 'both sides' played a role in the violence that left one counter-protester dead. The president's remarks were widely condemned by both Republicans and Democrats in the US.

Mr Bannon also spoke out against a potential military intervention in North Korea during the interview - again in contrast to the language used by Mr Trump and other administration officials.

He said: "Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that 10 million people in Seoul don't die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don't know what you're talking about."

"There's no military solution here, they got us."

During his extraordinary press conference earlier this week, Donald Trump was ambigious about Mr Bannon's future.

The US president stated that Mr Bannon - who was a central figure in the closing months of last year's election campaign - was a 'good man', but ominously noted: "We'll see what happens".


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