Bannon's refusal to answer leads to subpoena

Steve Bannon speaks during an event in Manchester N.H. Breitbart News Network announced Tuesday Jan. 9 2018 that Bannon is stepping down as chairman of the conservative news site

Bannon, 64, was a powerful figure in the Trump election campaign and the White House in the early months of Trump's presidency, pushing a hard-line nationalism aimed at shaking up United States domestic and foreign policy.

"This was effectively a gag order by the White House", Schiff said, noting the committee planned to call Bannon back for a second round of questioning.

A person familiar with the subpoena said the committee issued the order after Bannon's counsel advised him he did not have to answer lawmakers' questions regarding his discussions with Trump.

The reports show a shift from Bannon's handling of a congressional investigation into the possible collusion. CNN has reported that Mueller, the man heading the investigation has already got two confessions of Lt Gen Flynn and former foreign affairs adviser George Papadopoulos for lying to federal officials.

The subpoena was issued last week, according to a person familiar with the situation, who said that Bannon expects to be able to persuade the special counsel's office to accept a voluntary interview of Bannon by prosecutors in place of a grand jury appearance.

This is the second subpoena issued to Bannon, following a reported summons from a Mueller-impaneled grand jury.

The focus on Bannon follows his spectacular fall from power after being quoted in a book saying that he sees the president's son and others as engaging in "treasonous" behavior for taking a meeting with Russians during the 2016 campaign. While nobody knows what he will say under oath, he may have damaging information on Trump's family and associates-not to mention Trump himself.

Bannon, in the book, also predicted that the special counsel investigation would ultimately center on money laundering. Mr Wolff stands by his account. Bannon ran the #white house for seven months before he was sacked by Trump. Six days later, Mr Bannon stepped down from his post as executive chairman at Breitbart News.


Mr Bannon was sacked by the White House in August previous year, and he returned to the right-wing news website Breitbart News.

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

White House Communications Director Hope Hicks, who served as Mr Trump's spokeswoman during his presidential campaign, is also expected to be questioned by the committee this week.

"We have limited resources", Mr Manafort's attorney Kevin Downing said. "Any time you have congressional inquiries touching upon the White House, the Congress should consult with the White House prior to obtaining confidential material".

Agency leaders, for a time, resisted turning the documents over. "Sometimes they have a White House attorney present in the room". They have requested that he come back Thursday, but it was not immediately clear whether he would.

"I think he saw doing the physical as an opportunity to put some of that to rest", Jackson said.

Asked why Lewandowski did not want to answer any questions about conversations and events after his departure, King said: "Because he wasn't prepared".

Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor running to become IL attorney general, said investigators generally preferred to meet witnesses in an informal setting.

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