Bannon plans to cooperate with special counsel in Russian Federation probe, source says

During Wednesday's White House briefing, MSNBC reporter Hallie Jackson pointed to news that Bannon had been subpoenaed by congressional committees and by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 us election.

"Mueller will hear everything Bannon has to say", a source told The Daily Beast, which first reported the news on Tuesday night.

Bannon, the former White House chief strategist for President Donald Trump, struck a deal with Mueller and will be interviewed by prosecutors instead of testifying before a grand jury.

Uttam Dhillon, the White House lawyer responsible for responding to congressional investigators in the Russian Federation probe, had made the executive privilege request to Bannon's lawyer, William Burck, before Bannon's appearance Tuesday, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Bannon's attorney, Bill Burck, called the White House Counsel's Office when the committee's questioning went beyond the scope of Bannon's time on the Trump campaign, and into the presidential transition and his time in the Trump administration, according to the sources.

Bannon, the former head of Breitbart News, appeared before the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday but refused to answer questions about his time on the Trump presidential transition team and in the White House.

But Bannon refused to answer questions about that crucial period, and as a result, the chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., issued the subpoena, spokesman Jack Langer said.

Word about the subpoena comes from a person familiar with Bannon's closed-door interview with the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday.

Bannon refused to speak not only about his time at the White House, but also any conversations he had with President Trump after he had left the administration "that might be for the objective of the President seeking his advice on anything", Schiff said. Conaway had decided that the White House's "expansive claim of executive privilege doesn't apply", Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., told CNN's Anderson Cooper - and the former chief strategist risked placing himself in contempt of Congress through his stonewalling. But she did not say whether the White House directed Bannon not to answer certain questions. During the campaign, she was often by Trump's side and attended almost every rally, while she was in frequent communication with other senior officials as they plotted their tactics to win the White House. Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the committee's top Democrat, called it "problematic" that Burck could have potentially been discussing the issue with officials he also represents in separate Russian Federation inquiries.

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"They are going to try to get an understanding of the relationships and how things worked and explain why he came to that opinion", said Peter Zeidenberg, a former deputy special counsel.

Underscoring the break, Trump said Bannon had "lost his mind" and branded him "Sloppy Steve" via Twitter.

Bannon did not respond to requests for comment.

"As with all congressional inquiries touching upon the White House, Congress must consult with the White House prior to obtaining confidential material", Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

Some legal experts said the subpoena could be a sign that the investigation was intensifying, while others said it might simply have been a negotiating tactic to persuade Bannon to cooperate with the investigation.

The decision by Republicans and Democrats to subpoena Bannon represented unusual bipartisan pushback for a committee that has recently been mired in partisan discord.

Bannon was quoted in Wolff's book "Fire and Fury" as having called Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Russian lawyer "treasonous".

Wolff, who painted a picture of an erratic and poorly informed president, was given substantial access to the White House during Trump's first year by Bannon.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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