US President Donald Trump has fired chief strategist Steve Bannon, the White House announced, ending the turbulent tenure of a rabble-rousing conservative media entrepreneur and political activist who was a favourite of Mr Trump's base.

"White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve's last day," White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

"We are grateful for his service and wish him the best."

The New York Times, however, cited a person close to Mr Bannon as saying he had submitted his resignation on 7 August and that it was to be announced this week, but had been delayed by the fallout from the rally by white nationalists in Virginia last weekend.

A source familiar with the decision, which had been under consideration for a while, said Mr Bannon had been given an opportunity to depart on his own terms.

"The president made up his mind on it over the past couple of weeks," the source said.

Mr Kelly had been evaluating Mr Bannon's role within the White House.

"They gave him an opportunity to step down knowing that he was going to be forced to," the source said.

Mr Bannon damaged his standing by giving an interview to the liberal American Prospect this week in which he was seen to be undercutting Mr Trump's position on North Korea.

Mr Bannon told associates he thought he was talking to an academic and thought he was off the record.

He has told friends he could go back to the right-wing Breitbart News outlet if he were to leave the White House.

Mr Bannon was the former chief of Breitbart, a popular conservative news website that has faced criticism for fueling the so-called "alt-right" movement that includes racist, anti-Semitic and anti-immigrant elements.

He has been among the most provocative members of Mr Trump's inner circle and has joined a growing of former Trump staffers to leave.

Mr Bannon was a force behind some of Mr Trump's most contentious policies, including a travel ban on people from several Muslim-majority nations, and has fought with more moderate factions inside a White House riven with rivalries and back-stabbing.

His ouster comes with the president, seven months into his term in office, increasingly isolated over his comments following white supremacist violence in the Virginia college town of Charlottesville last Saturday.

A champion of economic nationalism and a political provocateur, Mr Bannon, 63, is a former US Navy officer, GoldmanSachs investment banker and Hollywood movie producer.

He had been in a precarious position before but Mr Trump opted to keep him, in part because his chief strategist played a major role in his 2016 election victory and is backed by many of the president's most loyal rank-and-file supporters.

The decision to fire Mr Bannon could undermine Mr Trump's support among far-right voters but might ease tensions within the White House and with party leaders.

Republicans control the White House and both chambers of Congress but have been unable to pass major legislative goals including a healthcare legislation overhaul because of fierce intra-party divisions.

Mr Trump ran into trouble in recent days after saying anti-racist demonstrators in Charlottesville were as responsible for the violence as the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who instigated the protests.

Those remarks sparked rebukes from fellow Republicans, topcorporate executives and some close allies even as somesupporters, including vice president Mike Pence, stood by Trump.

Under pressure from moderate Republicans to fire Mr Bannon, Mr Trump declined to publicly back him on Tuesday, although he left his options open. "We'll see what happens with Mr Bannon," he told reporters at Trump Tower in New York.

On 28 July, Mr Trump replaced his beleaguered White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, installing retired General John Kelly in his place in a major shake-up of his top team.

Mr Trump then ousted White House communications chief Anthony Scaramucci on 31 July over an obscene tirade just ten days after the president named him to the post.

Mr Scaramucci's hiring had prompted Sean Spicer, a Priebus ally, to abruptly resign as press secretary.

In recent weeks, Breitbart has published a series of articles making a case for Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster's ouster as national security advisor on the basis that he is not a strong ally of Israel and that he has staffed the National Security Council with holdovers from the Obama administration.

Critics have accused Mr Bannon of harbouring anti-Semitic and white nationalist sentiments.

In a 2007 court filing during divorce proceedings, Mr Bannon's former wife accused him of making anti-Semitic comments on at least three occasions.

Just a year ago, Mr Bannon took over as head of Mr Trump's presidential campaign.