Bannon subpoenaed by House committee after refusing to answer questions

Federal Bureau of Investigation agents showed up at Steve Bannon's Washington home last week intent on serving him with a subpoena to appear before a grand jury investigating possible ties between President Donald Trump's campaign and Russian Federation, according to a source familiar with the proceedings.

Bannon confirmed to the House Intelligence Committee that he was issued a subpoena from special counsel Robert Mueller to testify before a grand jury, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter.

Steve Bannon will cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe, according to reports that surfaced on Wednesday morning.

Bannon's lawyer told the closed-door hearing that the former aide "was willing to answer our questions but under instructions from the White House not to", reported The Guardian.

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.

Rep. Mike Conway, R-Texas, who is overseeing the panel's Russian Federation probe, said they expect additional testimony from Bannon after further discussions with the White House over what lawmakers in both parties considered an overly broad claim of executive privilege.

'If the White House is permitted to maintain that kind of a gag rule on a witness, no Congressional investigation could ever be effective, ' Schiff pointed out.

Schiff said that one of the questions that Lewandowski wouldn't answer was: "Did you have a conversation with the president of the United States within the last 24 hours where you discussed your testimony?"

Before Lewandowski left the campaign, he was among among several senior Trump campaign officials who received communications from foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos about his outreach to the Russian government, according to published news accounts.

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"This was effectively a gag order by the White House", Schiff said after the interview concluded.

Lawmakers had been questioning Bannon for roughly 90 minutes when questions began on the transition, several sources said.

"Only Steve Bannon could unite this committee", said Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill.

At that point, House Intelligence Committee Republicans and Democrats joined forces to issue Bannon a subpoena on the spot to compel his testimony.

Conaway recessed the interview after 8 p.m., and he declined to say whether he would pursue additional steps, such as holding Bannon in contempt or issuing a further subpoena for documents.

In Michael Wolff's book, Fire And Fury, Mr Bannon accuses Donald Trump Jr, Jared Kushner and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort of essentially betraying the nation by meeting with a group of Russian lawyers and lobbyists who they believed were ready to offer "dirt" on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders acknowledged the arrangement Wednesday, which she called "standard procedure". Neither Bannon nor his lawyer immediately responded to a request for comment Monday.

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. "If he's got facts on [money laundering], I or a special prosecutor ought to hear them", Warner told me in an interview earlier this month.

  • Sonia Alvarado