Former White House adviser Steve Bannon is willing to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into whether President Donald Trump's campaign coordinated with Russian Federation to influence the election, according to multiple media reports late Tuesday and early Wednesday. The White House has indicated, CBS News has learned, that it is open to a new scope of inquiry regarding Bannon, but wants to go through a certain process. Peter Carr, a spokesman for the special counsel's office, declined comment. He also refused to discuss conversations he may have had with Trump after he left the White House.
After receiving a subpoena last week to appear before a grand jury, the former Trump strategist is instead going to be permitted give a voluntary interview to Mueller's investigators, a session that is likely to be held before the end of the month, according to a person familiar with the arrangement.
Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., one of the Republicans leading the committee's investigation, reacted with exasperation to Bannon and the White House's claims.
Senior committee Republican, Rep. Tom Rooney of Florida, told reporters that the issue of executive privilege was "dominating the day". Dorf said it does seem unusual for a witness' lawyer to consult in real time with the White House about which questions can be answered, it is a "bit more respectful" than a pre-emptive blanket refusal to answer questions.
The counsel's office, led by Donald McGahn, told Burck that the committee was "getting ahead of itself" if it was asking questions about the executive branch, the official said, adding that the committee has not yet come to a formal agreement with the White House about what information it could claim as privileged. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the person wasn't authorized to speak publicly about the matter.
It wasn't clear when the interview will take place or if the subpoena would be withdrawn.
He said the committee expects to have Bannon return for more questioning.
In a statement to ABC News, Bannon attorney William Burck said, "Executive privilege belongs to the President of the United States". Formally asserting executive privilege could be embarrassing for the White House, which has insisted it has nothing to hide in the ongoing Russian Federation investigation and that it is cooperating fully.
CBS News White House and senior foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Brennan reports Federal Bureau of Investigation agents made a trip to Bannon's home last week, in what became a heated exchange with the agents.
There were also some questions about the firing of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn for allegedly lying to Vice President Michael Pence that he did not discuss Obama administration sanctions with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak. "And no effort to hide behind a later potential invocation of privilege by the executive", Schiff said.
Outgoing deputy chief of staff Rick Dearborn was to meet with the committee yesterday, according to CNN. Bannon's comments were critical of Trump and members of his family. In particular, Schiff said Lewandowski wouldn't say whether he had talked to Trump recently about the interview with the committee.
They had a ringside seat for much of Mr Trump's campaign and transition, a period when numerous key questions about Russian interference arose.
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