Trump Urged Army Corps To Give $400M To Firm Tied To Bannon’s Border Wall Scheme
The Washington Post reported in December that the Defense Department inspector general’s office had begun an audit of the $400 million border wall contract awarded to the North Dakota construction firm tied to Steven Bannon’s We Build the Wall project.
- Bannon was arrested on Thursday in relation to the project, which prosecutors say he and others used to defraud donors.
- President Trump has attempted to distance himself from both Bannon and the border wall project, but The Post’s report made clear that Trump had repeatedly urged military officials to hire We Build the Wall’s construction partner — Fisher Sand and Gravel — to assist in the administration’s border wall efforts.
- “On Dec. 2, the Pentagon announced a contract worth up to $400 million to Fisher Sand and Gravel for the construction of 31 miles of new border barriers along the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge in southern Arizona,” The Post reported.
- The award came after the company’s previous bids on projects for the border wall were passed over by the Army Corps, which led CEO Tommy Fisher to mount “an aggressive public and private campaign to win a contract.”
He made several appearances on Fox News promoting the superiority of his company, while Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) personally lobbied the president to hire Fisher while accusing the Army Corps of unfairly excluding the firm. Fisher donated to Cramer’s Senate campaign, appeared with Cramer on the campaign trail and was Cramer’s guest at Trump’s State of the Union address earlier this year.
- Fisher also “paid lobbying firm Odney more than $100,000 since 2017 during its push to secure border wall contacts.”
- The Post also reported at the time that Fisher had partnered with We Build the Wall, which was hoping to “install a 3.5-mile span of privately funded fencing along the banks of the Rio Grande near Mission, Tex., on land the group says Tommy Fisher purchased.”
The American Civil Liberties Union said it is demanding answers regarding the entire situation, tweeting on Thursday: “The Department of Homeland Security, at the urging of President Trump, awarded a $400 million contract to a company affiliated with Steve Bannon’s "We Build the Wall" effort. We're demanding answers.”