Steve Bannon insisted he would not testify before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot until the matter of former President Trump‘s executive privilege is settled.
Bannon’s lawyer on Thursday wrote a letter to the House select committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson, reiterating to the committee that the former Trump adviser had no intention of testifying.
Bannon’s lawyer, Robert Costello, said that Trump’s lawyer Justin Clark had informed Bannon on Wednesday that Trump would be exercising executive privilege and directed Bannon not to produce documents or testify until the matter had been settled.
The letter argued that ‘Bannon’s position is not in defiance of your Committee’s subpoena.’
‘That is an issue between the committee and President Trump’s counsel and Mr. Bannon is not required to respond at this time,’ Costello wrote.
The House committee last week gave Bannon until this Thursday to appear before them, at which point they threatened to pursue criminal charges.
The House committee last week gave Bannon until this Thursday to appear before them, at which point they threatened to pursue criminal charges
Bannon’s lawyer on Thursday wrote a letter to the House select committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson, above, reiterating to the committee that the former Trump adviser had no intention of testifying
‘We will not allow any witness to defy a lawful subpoena or attempt to run out the clock, and we will swiftly consider advancing a criminal contempt of Congress referral,’ said committee chairman Bennie Thompson and vice vhair Liz Cheney in a statement last week.
‘Until such time as you reach an agreement with President Trump or receive a court ruling as to the extent, scope and application of the executive privilege, in order to preserve the claim of executive or other privileges, Mr. Bannon will not be producing documents or testifying,’ Costello said. ‘Mr. Bannon will revisit his position if President Trump’s position changes or if a court rules on the matter.’
The letter noted that Bannon had been compliant with subpoenas to testify during the Mueller investigation and before the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. ‘In each of those instances, when President Trump waived his invocation of executive privileges, Mr. Bannon testified.’
Costello is a former deputy chief of the criminal division for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York.
Bannon is the only one of the top Trump aides subpoenaed on September 23 who was not working for the Trump administration on January 6, the day of the attack on the U.S. Capitol
The committee pointed out that Bannon told listeners of his War Room podcast on January 5 that ‘all hell is going to break loose tomorrow’
He also represents Trump aide and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani in investigations about his business dealings.
Bannon is the only one of the top Trump aides subpoenaed on September 23 who was not working for the Trump administration on January 6, the day of the attack on the U.S. Capitol.
‘I stand with Trump and the Constitution,’ he told DailyMail.com.
Two other aides, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and former Pentagon aide Kash Patel, are ‘engaging’ with the committee, lawmakers said in a statement.
The committee had said Bannon was trying ‘to hide behind vague references to privileges.’
The committee’s subpoenas had set a Thursday deadline for Bannon, Meadows, Patel and a fourth witness, former White House communications aide Dan Scavino, to provide documents. They also set dates for interviews next week.
A spokesman for the committee declined to comment on whether Scavino was cooperating last week. However, Scavino over the weekend blasted the ‘dangerous and false narrative.
The committee finally tracked down Scavino after a week-long effort to physically locate him, CNN reported over the weekend.
In issuing the subpoena to Bannon, the committee wrote: ‘You have been identified as present at the Willard Hotel on January 5, 2021 during an effort to persuade members of Congress to block the certification of the Election the next day, and in relation to other activities on Jan. 6.’
It also pointed out that he told listeners of his War Room podcast on January 5 that ‘all hell is going to break loose tomorrow.’
For Scavino, the committee referenced tweets sent by Trump’s former social media lead and asked him to turn over video recordings of the president’s message to supporters telling them to go home as the violence unfolded.
The deadline for them to respond was midnight on Thursday.
Lawmakers believe they can win a challenge over executive privilege as Trump is no longer in office and some of those subpoenaed were no longer working for him on January 6.