Steve Bannon could still prove himself an ally to Trump despite his new book causing a rift. The book made many allegations against Trump, his family and his administration.
A lot of what was written was of concern to the Russian inquiry. This led the House Intel Committee to interview Bannon.
Bannon wasn’t keen however and refused to cooperate. He was seemingly more committed to being a Trump ally than foe. It appeared he was trying to make up for the book he wrote.
Trump had disconnected himself from any contact with Bannon. He said that Bannon had lost his mind.
Steve Bannon was subpoenaed to stand before a grand jury. He had refused to answer any questions regarding the Russian probe.
“Only Steve Bannon could unite this committee,” said Rep. Mike Quigley. Up to that moment the two Committees had taken different routes with their investigations.
Peter Zeidenberg, a former deputy special counsel had this to say about the situation. He said “they are going to try to get an understanding of the relationships and how things worked and explain why he came to that opinion.”
Barbara Van Gelder commented on Mueller’s attempt at acquiring information from Bannon.
She said “this is really Mueller’s way of cementing a day, time and place for that conversation, rather than negotiating an interview.”
Bannon’s attorney, William Burck told Rep. Adam B. Schiff that a gag order was given to Bannon. The White House told him not to respond to questions.
“This was effectively a gag order by the White House preventing this witness from answering almost any question concerning his time in the transition or the administration,” Schiff said.
Bannon Must Testify
It was unlikely that the gag order would work. If Burck was speaking the truth this move would only hurt the White House’s credibility. What did they have to hide?
Rep. Tom Rooney said the meeting with Bannon was complicated.
“I certainly think that when the committee expects an executive privilege, when does that attach is the question that is sort of dominating the day. You know, at what time does it attach? During the transition or during the actual swearing in?” Rooney said.
He continued “if you are part of the White House in any way and you’re talking about things that were during the campaign, but it happens to be in the White House, then what? What’s the answer? So that’s the quandary.”
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended the White House and had this to say:
“As with all congressional inquiries touching upon the White House, Congress must consult with the White House prior to obtaining confidential material,” Sanders said.
She said “this is part of a judicially recognized process that goes back decades. We have been fully cooperative with these ongoing investigations and encourage the committees to work with us to find an appropriate accommodation in order to ensure Congress obtains information necessary to its legitimate interests.”
It was in the best interest of Government to remain transparent if it wanted its citizens to trust them.