House Intel Panel Leaders: Bannon Refuses to Answer Many Queries

Steve Bannon's promised political army fails to materialize

Steve Bannon's promised political army fails to materialize

Steve Bannon told the House Intelligence Committee that he had been instructed by the White House to invoke executive privilege on behalf of President Donald Trump, declining to answer a wide array of key questions pertinent to the Russian Federation investigation and prompting lawmakers to consider holding him in contempt.

Democrats are pushing for a contempt vote, with the top Democrat on the intelligence panel, California Rep. Adam Schiff, saying he believed Bannon's non-answers were all an attempt to draw out and block the Russian Federation probe.

Republican leaders are not expected to decide on a course of action until late February, after they return to Washington following a one-week recess, he said.

When Conaway was asked whether he would back such a contempt proceeding, he said the decision was not his to make.

The questions Bannon avoided covered a range of topics about what happened after the 2016 campaign season, prompting pushback from lawmakers from both parties. "That's how stonewalling works", Schiff told reporters.

After falling afoul of both the Trump administration and Breitbart, Steve Bannon may nowalso find himself in contempt of Congress.

Instead, they witnessed collusion between Bannon and the White House.

"I'm not a lawyer - so privileges were invoked, we have to have some discussion as to whether or not those are appropriate and would in effect shield him from having to answer our questions, and that's an ongoing conversation we'll have among an very bad lot of lawyers", Conaway said.

But in the House, Republicans and Democrats alike have been angered by Bannon's repeated attempts to dismiss questions based on a claim to executive privilege that Trump never formally invoked, even when served with a subpoena.

In the letter, the White House argued to the Hill that because "some of the same factors are implicated in terms of the President needing to have candid advice of others during the transition that a privilege that has never been held to apply during the transition should be held to apply", according to Schiff.

Bannon is one of the committee's few remaining witnesses in its Russian Federation probe, which Republicans on the panel have said they want to wrap up early this year.

Mr Bannon appeared before the House Intelligence Committee in a closed-door meeting earlier today. For as little as $3, you can help us.

Bannon came to speak with the House Intelligence Committee under a subpoena the panel issued on the spot last month, when he refused to answer questions related to the transition period and his tenure in the White House.

Trump's former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, is refusing to appear for a second time before the House Intelligence Committee. Republicans and Democrats subpoenaed him after he similarly refused to answer some questions in a January interview.

"We have further steps to take and we will be taking those".

"There was a refusal to answer any questions that would have brought out the full facts".

Panel members on both sides of the aisle also stressed that Bannon could not cite nonexistent privilege as an excuse to avoid their questions.

At least one Republican on the intelligence panel said before the interview that a contempt vote would be necessary if Bannon were uncooperative.

The fallout from that controversy also saw Bannon step down from his role at Breitbart.

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