Kelly: WH Did Not Tell Bannon to Invoke Executive Privilege

19 January, 2018, 02:07 | Author: Gary Shelton
  • Stephen Bannon did the one thing he wasn't supposed to do during his House Intelligence Committee hearing

President Donald Trump personally made the decision to order former White House strategist Steve Bannon to limit his answers to Congressional investigators in testimony this week, according to a report on Thursday.

Bannon's attorney, in a letter to the committee shared with CNN, said the committee asked that his legal team work out with the White House the scope of the executive privilege President Donald Trump could potentially assert in the future.

Sources told The Liberal Advocate News Wednesday morning that Bannon was aware of most meetings that occurred between officials of the Trump campaign and transition teams, and has informed special counsel Robert Mueller's team that he is ready to sit down and tell them everything he knows.

Bannon was quoted in the book making disparaging comments about the first family, the backlash to which resulted in him losing his job as chairman of Breitbart News and support from Republican mega-donors like Rebekah Mercer.

Bannon told the author that he believed that a June 2016 meeting that Trump Jr. accepted with a group of Russians at Trump Tower was "treasonous" and "unpatriotic".

Mr Bannon appeared separately on Tuesday before a Congressional panel.

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Bannon has reportedly agreed to be interviewed by Mueller after having been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury.

The New York Times said Mr Mueller had summoned Mr Bannon last week, citing a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

When Bannon refused to answer questions, Schiff said, the committee decided on a bipartisan basis to issue the subpoena to make his attendance at the hearing "compulsory", and Bannon was served.

"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", the president added.

It's unclear who Burck communicated with or whether it was top White House lawyer Don McGahn.

Asked if negotiations over Bannon's testimony are ongoing as of Wednesday morning, the White House official said: "There's no negotiation now, they haven't engaged with us". Bannon started with the committee at 8 a.m., but questioning did not start until later in the morning.

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Bannon is the most recent Trump associate to be questioned as part of the ongoing Russian Federation investigation.

As lawmakers probed Bannon's time working for President Donald Trump, Bannon's attorney Bill Burck was asking the White House counsel's office by phone during the Tuesday session whether his client could answer the questions.

Mr Bannon was not present at the meeting, nor during the drafting of the President's misleading statement on this issue - both of which are reportedly of interest to Mr Mueller.

Bannon's lawyer conferred again with the White House and "was instructed by the White House to refuse again to answer any questions even though he was under a compulsory process concerning the period of time during the transition and administration", Schiff said.

"I don't think you should take anything from the Michael Wolff book seriously", Cobb said.

In essence, the White House is hoping to reap numerous benefits of executive privilege, without President Donald Trump officially asserting the privilege.

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