The president continues to freak out at every mention of the Russia scandal and its concurrent ongoing investigations, but whether he likes it or not, his former close associate Steve Bannon is the latest to face questioning.
On Tuesday, Bannon appeared before the House Intelligence Committee, where he refused to answer many questions, even in the face of a subpoena, but it came out on the same day that he had been served with a subpoena by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office.
As was made clear could happen in the first reports about the subpoena, Bannon has apparently opted to be interviewed privately by Mueller’s investigators rather than testify before a grand jury as he was initially directed to do.
NBC has some new details, however, about the lead-up to this point, and they indicate perhaps just how serious Special Counsel Mueller’s office is about getting information out of Bannon.
According to NBC, FBI agents showed up at Steve Bannon’s home last week to serve him with a subpoena, at which time they were notified that, just a short time ahead of their visit, Bannon had fallen under the representation of William Burck. Burck, NBC notes, is representing two other witnesses in the Russia scandal, besides Bannon.
Burck has proven instrumental to investigators’ relationship with Bannon already, having related to the House Intelligence Committee during his client’s Tuesday appearance that the former Trump confidante had been directed to not answer a whole host of questions.
Ranking Democrat on the committee and California U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff was among those to express outrage at this, questioning why the White House would take the “breathtaking” move to essentially place Bannon under a “gag order.” It’s not clear what, if any, information the committee was able to get out of Bannon, with him apparently declining to answer questions relating to his time in the transition and the administration, which he left last fall.
During the House Intelligence Committee’s questioning of Bannon, which lasted for most of the day, the committee served him with a subpoena to try and get him to answer questions, but even in the face of that subpoena, he stayed quiet, as if he agreed to the initially voluntary interview just so that he could humiliate the committee.
GOP Rep. Mike Conway of Texas, who leads the House Intelligence Committee’s probe in the face of Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes’ recusal from the matter, described his body’s questioning of Bannon as “in recess.”
Bannon is apparently prepared to be more forthcoming with Mueller’s team, intending to “answer any questions” that Mueller’s team poses, according to a source close to Bannon speaking to NBC.
FBI agents having reportedly gone to Bannon’s home to serve him with a subpoena isn’t the first time that agents have visited the home of a Trump associate.
Last year, agents carried out a pre-dawn search of the home of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.
Manafort is one of four former Trump associates to have so far faced charges as a part of Mueller’s ongoing probe.
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