12 Times Trump’s aides have denied that there was any collusion with Russia.
Steve Bannon was Trump’s chief strategist. Bannon was so involved with the President he’s been called Trump’s consigliere. It was August of 2016 that Trump appointed Bannon as his campaign chief. Thus Bannon worked for Trump for five months BEFORE Trump took office as the President. That five month period is critically important, as there should be no executive privilege that would apply during that time.
Yesterday, Bannon spent ten hours in a closed-door interview with the House Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. He was there voluntarily, but that changed when he refused to answer any questions about working in the White House, the Trump transition, or even his conversations with the president after his firing.
Representative Adam Schiff, the committee’s ranking Democrat, said Bannon’s attorney, William Burck, explained that the White House had instructed his client not to answer the committee’s questions. In a rare moment of agreement, Democrats and Republicans on the committee then issued a subpoena, which they hoped would compel Bannon to testify.
“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.
“The scope of this assertion of privilege, if that’s what it is, is breathtaking. It goes well beyond anything we have seen in this investigation,” Schiff explained. “If the White House is permitted to maintain that kind of gag rule on a witness, no congressional investigation could ever be effective. So this obviously can’t stand.”
Schiff wasn’t the only committee member who found Bannon’s legal justification appalling. Democratic Representative Jim Himes described it as a “very novel theory of executive privilege,” on Anderson Cooper 360.
“I think this will probably keep the lawyers busy, but I certainly have never heard of an example where either executive privilege is claimed for a president-elect,” Himes said. “I’ve never heard of executive privilege claimed for conversations between two people that don’t include the president, which were precluded from being asked about today.”
During the course of questioning, Bannon told members of the House Intelligence Committee that the White House had instructed him not to answer questions related to his tenure in the administration and the transition period, citing a desire to exert executive privilege. That statement is directly CONTRARY to the statement of Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
She said: “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.”
Thus…someone is lying.???
Bannon has been subpoenaed by Robert Mueller to testify before a grand jury. Bannon is expected to be more forthcoming with Mueller’s team. “He’ll answer any questions” Mueller wants to ask, one source close to Bannon told NBC News. We won’t be privy to Bannon’s testimony before the grand jury, but neither will Trump.