Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) has had it. He had to deal with the House Intelligence committee chair, Devin Nunes (R-CA), serving as the president’s water boy with the Nunes Memo. Then, there was Donald Trump trashing the intelligence community. Now, it is the president’s former chief strategist, Steve Bannon’s turn.
Bannon informed the committee that he would not testify even though the committee placed him under subpoena to appear. Members of the House committee requested he return for followup questioning after his mid-January non-testimony. At that meeting, he refused to answer questions on the basis that the White House forbade him for doing so.
A Reuters’ source said the former Trump campaign chair would meet with Special Counsel Robert Mueller after the House testimony. Bannon was expected to answer all of the special counsel’s questions.
Apparently, the former chief strategist’s attorney told the House Intelligence committee that the White House would not let him testify before them, except for “14 pre-approved yes-or-no questions.”
That was when Schiff had had enough. He said the White House cannot “ban” Bannon from testifying about issues that occurred between the election date, November 7, 2016 and Trump’s inauguration, January 20, 2017. The White House cannot limit any communications between Bannon and the White House after Bannon was let go, August 18, 2017.
According to CNN, the decision to leave was mutual. Even though the Chief of State John Kelly fired Bannon, he and the president continued talking.
‘Bannon’s ouster had been in the works for two weeks and a source said that while Bannon was given the option to resign, he was ultimately forced out. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed Bannon’s departure, but claimed the decision for him to leave was mutual.’
After Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury came out, the president said he no longer talked to Bannon. The former chief strategist told the author that the actions of Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr. were “treasonous.” According to The Washington Examiner, Trump said:
‘I don’t talk to him. That’s just a misnomer.’
Then, there should be no problem.
Schiff said that since the president had not invoked executive privilege, even Bannon’s time at the White House was fair game.
According to Schiff’s statement, the House Intelligence committee will begin contempt proceedings, if Bannon refuses to testify. He said the committee’s subpoena is still in effect, according to Reuters:
‘Testifying before the Special Counsel does not obviate Mr. Bannon’s obligations under the subpoena issued by the Committee. Should Bannon maintain his refusal to return and testify fully to all questions, the Committee should begin contempt proceedings to compel his testimony.’
Not only is Mueller investigating Russia’s attempt to influence the 2016 presidential election and the Trump presidential campaign, three congressional committees are also conducting concurrent investigations.
Donald Trump has repeatedly denied any connection between himself and Russia. Moscow also denied interfering in the elections, too, as well as any collusion between Trump and the Russian government. Those denials do not include any communications between Trump campaign members and Russian oligarchs.
Featured Image via Getty Images/Joe Raedle.