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Subpoenaed Trump Strategist Refuses To Talk To Lawmakers In Russia Probe

18 January 2018

Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon participates in a Hudson Institute conference in Washington October 23, 2017.

Stephen Bannon, President Donald Trump's former chief strategist, was subpoenaed last week by special counsel Robert Mueller to testify before a grand jury as part of the investigation into possible links between Trump's associates and Russian Federation, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

Bannon confirmed that he had received the subpoena from Mueller during his House Intelligence Committee interview, according to a person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the person wasn't authorized to publicly discuss Bannon's interactions with Mueller.

Former White House adviser Steve Bannon is ready to reveal everything he knows about Donald Trump and his campaign's connections with Russian Federation but President Trump has gone into overdrive to squash his testimony. They said there was never an agreement on a narrowed scope of questioning.

Bannon is expected to be a lot more forthcoming talking to Mueller's team than he was with members of the House intelligence committee.

Bannon said at the time that as long as Democrats talk about identity politics, they'll lose against economic nationalism.

Bannon parted ways with the president this month in wake of Michael Wolff's bombshell book, "The Fire and the Fury: Inside the Trump White House", which paints a portrait of dysfunction in the White House, told in many parts from Bannon's viewpoint. "This is part of a judicially recognized process that goes back decades", Sanders told reporters.

On Tuesday, however, Bannon was singing a different tune.

Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the committee, said that the White House had issued an "audacious" gag order, telling Bannon not to answer any questions about the Russian Federation probe. "We're going to continue to be cooperative". Still, he again balked after the White House was consulted, said Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the committee. "This obviously can't stand. It's not Mr. Bannon's right to waive it".

The person familiar with the matter said that the committee had asked Bannon to return today, but that he had not yet agreed to that date.

Objections to the sweeping preemptive claim of potential executive privilege were echoed by Representative Trey Gowdy of SC, a Republican who has generally supported the president. "Executive privilege now covers things before you become the chief executive - which is just mind-numbing and there is no legal support for it".

As flagged by Bloomberg's Billy House on Twitter, Trump's controversial former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski wouldn't answer questions pertaining to the time after he was sacked from the Trump campaign in late June 2016. "Now, as a committee, if we follow the practice that we maintained yesterday, we should have subpoenaed him today and compelled answers to those questions". It is not clear what, if any, questions Bannon answered after that. Lawmakers also wanted answers from him about Trump's thinking when he fired FBI Director James B. Comey. Trump's lawyer, John Dowd, later said he was the one who drafted the erroneous tweet, not the president. It was also the broadest example yet of the White House using executive privilege to limit a witness' testimony without making a formal invocation of that presidential power. GOP leaders of the committee would not rule out holding Bannon in contempt for failing to provide information.

Subpoenaed Trump Strategist Refuses To Talk To Lawmakers In Russia Probe