President Donald Trump and then-Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach on July 19, 2017.
CNN  — 

Donald Trump ally Kris Kobach said in an interview last year that he had spoken with the President three times about the private border wall project that is currently at the center of a federal fraud investigation, and that Trump was “enthusiastic” about the project and it carried his blessing.

Speaking on an episode of the “We Build The Wall” show in May 2019, Kobach, both the general counsel and a board member for the project, said he periodically spoke to the President to give him updates on progress of the project.

New York federal prosecutors on Thursday charged Trump’s former adviser Steve Bannon, and three others, with defrauding donors of hundreds of thousands of dollars as part of a fundraising campaign for the project.

“I’ve spoken to the President about this project on three occasions now,” Kobach said. “And he said – the first time I told him about it – he said, ‘well, you tell the guys at We Build The Wall, that they have my blessing.’ And he used those exact words.”

“And he’s continually, I’ve met with, I meet with him or talk with him on the phone periodically, and I just spoke with him about it,” he added. “I want to say about a week and a half ago, keeping him up to speed on our progress as well. So he’s enthusiastic.”

Kobach, a staunch ally of the President, served on Trump’s voter fraud commission in 2017 and was endorsed by the president during his 2018 run for governor of Kansas, a race he lost in the deeply red state.

After federal prosecutors arrested Bannon and the others, reports came out about a 2019 interview Kobach did with The New York Times where he claimed Trump supported the project, but a review by CNN’s KFile of publicity released by “We Build The Wall” found that Kobach made the claim on numerous other occasions.

Trump said Thursday he didn’t like the project, citing a tweet from last month criticizing it, and said he knew nothing about it other than what he had read. The White House falsely claimed in a statement on Thursday the President did not know people involved in the project when he knows the majority of the board members.

The White House declined to comment on Friday about Kobach’s claims. Kobach did not respond to a CNN request for comment.

In another video from the group in March of 2019, Kobach said he met with the president twice about the project.

“Trump expressed a clear enthusiasm for it,” Kobach said. “He wants it known that he stands behind this effort…. the President clearly approves and he’s said that to me directly,” added Kobach.

Brian Kolfage, one of the men charged for allegedly defrauding donors, and the group, reiterated that Kobach was in communication with Trump about the project and that the president supported the initiative.

“The feedback has been positive,” Kolfage said at a townhall for the project. “One of our board members, Kris Kobach, who was up for Department of Homeland Security secretary, he’s on our team now and he’s been speaking with the President himself directly. The President supports what we’re doing. He approves what we’re doing.”