US President Donald Trump has turned on one of his former closest allies after being accused of "treasonous" and "unpatriotic" actions.
In a new book titled Fire and Fury:Inside the Trump White House, Former White House Strategist and head of Breitbart news, Steve Bannon, said the meetings between the president's son and a group of Russians during the 2016 election campaign were "treasonous" and "unpatriotic".
The book, written by Michael Wolff, is reportedly based on over 200 interviews with key members of the administration and was obtained ahead of release by several news outlets.
It allegedly portrays a White House in turmoil with many of the President's closest allies openly expressing contempt for him.
After New York Magazine published an extensive excerpt from the book, the White House released a statement yesterday downplaying the importance of Mr Bannon and accusing him of "losing his mind".
The 265 word statement begins: "Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency. When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind."
"Steve pretends to be at war with the media, which he calls the opposition party, yet he spent his time at the White House leaking false information to the media to make himself seem far more important than he was. It is the only thing he does well."
"Steve was rarely in a one-on-one meeting with me and only pretends to have had influence to fool a few people with no access and no clue, whom he helped write phony books."
The statements represent a radical change of tone for the President, who has earlier praised Steve Bannon for his work in the White House, even tweeting after his departure in August:
"I want to thank Steve Bannon for his service. He came to the campaign during my run against Crooked Hillary Clinton - it was great! Thanks S"
The book will be available to the general public on Tuesday next week.