White House chief strategist Steve Bannon on Wednesday canceled his appearance at a top Washington think tank, according to the HuffPost, one day after a bombshell report alleged President Donald Trump asked former FBI Director James Comey to halt an investigation into then-National Security Adviser Mike Flynn.
Staff members at the Brookings Institution, a center-left nonprofit public policy organization which conducts research on a number of issues, had also expressed concern with the fact Bannon had been invited because they felt they would not be able to press him and engage with him in an open dialogue on major issues.
"There were some who thought it was no big deal," a senior staff member told the HuffPost. "Some of us quite decidedly felt it was a very big deal, ethically obtuse, and stunningly stupid.
"When you have someone who is a perpetrator of fake news speaking to an institution that's focused on getting truth out there, those things compete. There was real concern about the nature of that engagement being closed."
Bannon was set to address Brookings' board of trustees in June, a meeting not open to the public. Employees within the organization were able to express their issues with Brookings President Strobe Talbott but Bannon informed the organization Wednesday he would not attend, making any conversations about a change in format moot.
"The rank-and-file worked hard, and the leadership was responsive [in the meetings]," said a senior staff member who attended one of the meetings. "I'm proud to say I work here with how this played out."
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