ROME (AP) — Former White House strategist Steve Bannon says the “poisonous” atmosphere that built in Washington during the now-completed Russia investigation has set back efforts to work with Russia.

Bannon is in Italy working to unite nationalist voters ahead of May 23-26 elections to the European Parliament.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday at the Foreign Press Association in Rome, Bannon said China — not Russia — is the “existential threat” to the Western world.

He praised how special counsel Robert Mueller carried out his investigation — which recently concluded President Donald Trump did not collude with Russia — but described it as a distraction.

He said: “Eventually we’ve got to unite the Judeo-Christian West and Russia is part of that, and now that’s going to take many, many, many decades.”