The news about Bannon, the former executive chairman of Breitbart News who became chief executive of Trump's 2016 campaign, was first reported by Politico on Friday, five days before President-elect Joe Biden is due to take office.
It follows reports that Bannon and Trump reconciled and have been in regular contact lately.
Bannon, 67, was charged in August with defrauding donors with a fundraiser named "We Build the Wall," along with three other men. The initiative raised over $25 million "under the false pretense that all of that money would be spent on construction," according to prosecutors.
“While repeatedly assuring donors that Brian Kolfage, the founder and public face of We Build the Wall, would not be paid a cent, the defendants secretly schemed to pass hundreds of thousands of dollars to Kolfage, which he used to fund his lavish lifestyle,” U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Audrey Strauss said at the time of the indictment.
Bannon’s exact charges include one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Bannon pleaded not guilty. His trial is scheduled to begin in May of this year.
Bannon was pushed out of the White House in May 2017. He was the de facto campaign manager during the final months of the 2016 presidential race. After he was fired from the White House, Trump claimed he had “lost his mind.”
However, it has been reported that he and Trump have now apparently patched things up. They began speaking again over the past few months about concerns that the 2020 election was stolen, and Bannon has used his War Room podcast to discuss challenges to the contest with guests such as Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer.
Trump also has been considering giving preemptive pardons to as many as 20 close associates and family members, including his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, and his children, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump, none of whom have been charged with a crime.
Trump issued two rounds of pre-Christmas pardons and commutations, including for three former members of Congress, numerous people convicted in Robert Mueller’s probe into Russia’s 2016 election interference, and four security contractors convicted for massacring Iraqi civilians in 2008.
Federal and state officials have rejected claims of widespread fraud in the election, and the courts have also been dismissive of legal cases seeking to overturn the results.
The president issued several pardons at the end of last year and has reportedly been considering preemptive pardons for as many as 20 of his close family members and associates.