Ex-White House Adviser Steve Bannon Skips Congressional Testimony

Doug Carpenter
February 8, 2018

Monday evening, Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, the Republican leading the panel's Russian Federation probe, told reporters he expected Bannon to appear.

"Testifying before the Special Counsel does not obviate Mr. Bannon's obligations under the subpoena issued by the Committee", Schiff said.

Bannon was present in the White House during periods Mueller may be investigating for a possible obstruction of justice charge, and he also shopped opposition research showing Trump's links to the mafia before joining his Republican presidential campaign in 2016. Schiff said the White House limited his testimony to a pre-approved set of 14 questions.

The extension is the third time Bannon's interview has been postponed.

Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the Committee, said in a statement on Wednesday that Lewandowski told the Committee that he was refusing to appear before them.

Bannon's initial appearance in front of the House Intel Committee last month devolved into confusion when he, apparently upon instructions from the White House, declined to answer any questions covering the time after the 2016 campaign.

Committee members from both parties have denounced the White House's prohibitions, and stated that they could hold Bannon in contempt of Congress.

The top Democrat on the U.S. House Intelligence Committee described on Wednesday "a developing pattern" in which witnesses have declined to discuss events occurring after President Donald Trump's election in the panel's probe of Russian Federation and the 2016 vote. The source said Bannon would answer all of Mueller's questions when he appears before him, which is expected next week. Executive privilege is a concept that originated with former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and argues that the president must be able to protect internal discussions in order to ensure that he or she will be able to receive honest advice from staff members.

Things haven't gone Steve Bannon's way since he got on the wrong side of President Trump. "But, Bannon is not the one to assert executive privilege - only the president can do that", Gerhardt told Business Insider. But he fell from grace with the president after voicing disparaging views of White House operations and other Trump advisers in author Michael Wolff's recently published book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.

The White House is reviewing the Democratic memo. The report says further the lawyers believe Mueller should not be legally allowed to question the president about some aspects of the investigation.

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