AAA  Apr. 12, 2017 8:32 AM ET
The Latest: Trump downplays Steve Bannon's influence
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White House chief strategist Steve Bannon steps off Air Force One as he arrives Sunday, April 9, 2017, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. Bannon was with President Donald Trump on his return trip from Florida. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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(AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump (all times local):

8:20 a.m.

President Donald Trump says his chief strategist Steve Bannon joined his campaign "very late," downplaying the notion that Bannon is an influential member of his team.

In an interview with the New York Post, Trump was asked about infighting among top members of his administration in which Bannon is said to be a center figure.

Trump said, "I like Steve, but you have to remember he was not involved in my campaign until very late."

Trump said he had already jumped major hurdles in the campaign by that time, beating "all the senators and all the governors" before he met Bannon.

The president added, "I'm my own strategist and it wasn't like I was going to change strategies because I was facing crooked Hillary," referring to general election opponent Hillary Clinton.

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7:42 a.m.

President Donald Trump says the U.S. is not going to get involved in Syria but that he had to act because of chemical attacks there.

His comments, aired Wednesday on Fox Business News, come less than a week after Trump ordered a retaliatory strike on Syria based on U.S. evidence that Syrian President Bashar Assad attacked civilians with chemical weapons.

Trump said, "when I saw that, I said we have to do something."

But he also appeared to rule out deeper involvement, saying: "Are we going to get involved with Syria? No."

Trump also warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin, in backing Assad, is supporting someone who is "truly an evil person." That, Trump said, is "very bad for Russia" and "very bad for mankind" and the world.

Associated Press
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