Steve Bannon will cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, according to reports that surfaced on Wednesday morning. Mueller’s team recently delivered a subpoena to Bannon ordering him to appear before a grand jury.
Mueller’s squad of FBI agents and attorneys have allegedly interviewed a number of people close to the president, including Jared Kushner and Hope Hicks. When Mueller’s men served the subpoena to Bannon, they were unaware that the former White House strategist had retained a heavy-hitting D.C. lawyer, CNBC reports. Mueller’s subpoena was seen as a forceful invitation — if Bannon had appeared before a grand jury, he probably would have been under oath, but speaking to the special counsel’s investigators in a private setting will be more informal. Of course, it’s still a federal crime to lie to the FBI.
On Tuesday, Bannon testified before the House Intelligence Committee, which is also investigating possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. At some point during his 10-hour testimony, Bannon told the congressmen that the White House told him not to answer questions dealing with his time in the West Wing and during the campaign, citing executive privilege as the reason for his silence. But a source familiar with Bannon’s thinking told The Daily Beast that the right-wing provocateur will answer any questions that Mueller’s team asks, adding, “Mueller will hear everything Bannon has to say.”
Bannon spent a few months in the White House as a chief strategist and reportedly worked on a number of orders, including the president’s travel ban on several Muslim-majority nations. The former Trump-whisperer was recently ousted from Breitbart after he made disparaging statements about the first family, including calling Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer “treasonous.” The president hit back with a searing statement, saying that Bannon had “lost his mind.”
The special counsel’s probe has charged a handful of Trump associates, but it’s hard to tell if his team is close to finished with their investigation. In mid-December, Trump attorney Ty Cobb said that “all the White House interviews [were] over” in Mueller’s probe, but that has proved incorrect. Just before the new year began, Trump told The New York Times that he “just doesn’t know” when Mueller’s team will be finished but added that he thinks he will be “treated fairly.”