Bannon refuses to comply with House subpoena

18 January, 2018, 03:43 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • Jonathan Bachman  Reuters

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is reportedly willing to share anything and everything with special counsel Robert Mueller, a source close to him tells Axios.

Bannon also was issued a subpoena to testify before a grand jury as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into whether Trump's campaign colluded with Russian Federation to undermine the chances of his rival Hillary Clinton. He had largely avoided the scrutiny of congressional investigators, who instead focused much of their energy on trying to secure interviews with top witnesses like Mr Manafort and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Bannon's attorney told the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday that Bannon would answer questions when he goes to the special counsel because executive privilege would not apply, according to one of the sources.

Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffIntel Dem decries White House "gag order" after Bannon testimony 'Total free-for-all' as Bannon clashes with Intel members Mueller has subpoenaed Bannon in Russian Federation probe: report MORE (Calif.), the panel's top Democrat, accused the White House of issuing a "gag order" on Bannon.

According to Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), after the subpoena, Bannon's attorney contacted the White House, which he said "doubled down" on its demand that he refuse to answer the committee's questions.

The developments brought to the forefront questions about White House efforts to control what current and former aides tell Congress about their time in Trump's inner circle, and whether Republicans on Capitol Hill would force the issue.

The official declined to say who initiated the mid-testimony phone call or who took part on behalf of the White House. The White House emerged from that conversation believing it had an agreement to limit the questioning of Bannon just to events during the campaign, and not during the transition period or his time in the White House.

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It infuriated President Trump, who now refers to Bannon as "Sloppy Steve".

Former White House strategist Steve Bannon, left, leaves a House Intelligence Committee meeting where he was interviewed for more than 10 hours behind closed doors on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018.

Still, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders used the phrase "executive privileges" when asked Tuesday whether the White House was blocking Bannon from testifying fully.

It is not clear when Bannon might return to the House committee under subpoena, which Conaway stressed "stays in effect, and we're going to get answers".

Tuesday's meeting followed controversy over the release of author Michael Wolff's book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House - in which Bannon is quoted as calling a meeting between a Russian lawyer and Donald Trump Jr., son-in-law Jared Kushner and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort "treasonous" and "unpatriotic".

The decision by Republicans and Democrats to subpoena Bannon represented unusual bipartisan pushback for a committee that has recently been mired in partisan discord. They have requested that he come back Thursday, but it was not immediately clear whether he would. "No, I don't think they do".

Dearborn, who planned to remain in the West Wing for the first month or two of this year, worked for Trump for more than two years, helping to set up the campaign's Washington office.


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