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DHS Sec. Kelly: Report Saying Bannon Confronted Me Is Complete ‘Fantasy’

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly pushed back this afternoon against a report that he was confronted by Steve Bannon over the travel ban.

Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin wrote the following in a piece released a few days ago:

White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon wanted to stop Kelly in his tracks and told him not to issue the order. Kelly, according to two administration officials familiar with the confrontation, refused to comply. That was the beginning of a weekend of negotiations among senior Trump administration staffers that led, on Sunday, Jan. 29, to a White House decision to change the process for the issuance of executive orders.

The disagreement between Bannon and Kelly pitted a political operator against a military disciplinarian. Two administration officials gave the following account of their exchange: Respectfully but firmly, the retired general told Bannon that despite his high position in the White House and close relationship with President Trump, the former Breitbart chief was not in Kelly’s chain of command. If the president wanted Kelly to back off from issuing the waiver, Kelly would have to hear it from the president directly, he told Bannon.

After the White House publicly disputed that such a confrontation took place, the Post updated the piece and included an editor’s note that the paper did not seek comment from the White House and should have done so.

Kelly was asked about this by Congresswoman Kathleen Rice during a hearing today, and he responded, “Every paragraph, every sentence, every word, every space, every comma, ever period is wrong. It was a fantasy story.”

He said if Rogin didn’t make the story up, then “whoever his sources are are playing him for a fool.”

Watch above, via C-SPAN 3.

[image via screengrab]

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Josh Feldman is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @feldmaniac