Published: Thu, January 18, 2018
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

U.S. media reports Steve Bannon subpoenaed by Mueller

U.S. media reports Steve Bannon subpoenaed by Mueller

Separately, President Donald Trump's former chief strategist has also struck a deal to be interviewed by United States special counsel Robert Mueller's team rather than appearing before a grand jury, after being subpoenaed to testify in his probe of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 USA presidential election, according to CNN.

Bannon's silence came as it emerged he also received a grand jury subpoena from special counsel Robert Mueller.

Mr Mueller's subpoena, which was issued last week, could be a pressure tactic to induce Mr Bannon to cooperate fully with his investigation, the Times reported.

Mueller formally subpoenaed Bannon last week to testify in front of a grand jury, a move some saw as a ploy by Mueller to push Bannon to speak to his investigators in private.

"We said to Bannon, 'Don't answer those questions because we haven't agreed to that scope under the process, '" a White House official told CNBC.

Even then, Bannon refused to answer questions after his lawyer had conferred with the White House and was told again to refuse to answer questions about the transition period immediately after Trump was elected, or Bannon's time in the administration, according to Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the committee.

Bannon's refusal to answer questions involving those time frames drew criticisms from committee members of both parties Tuesday, prompting the committee to serve Bannon with a subpoena during the interview.

A source close to Bannon told NBC News that Bannon would hold nothing back while interviewing with Mueller.

After the subpoena was issued, Bannon attorney William Burck conferred with White House officials who continued to insist that Bannon should still not answer the committee's questions. But the president's anger with Bannon led to the loss of his job at Breitbart after the site's funders sided with the White House. Schiff condemned what he called "a gag order from the White House".

Lewandowski was sacked as campaign manager on June 20, 2016, and replaced by Paul Manafort, who has been indicted on money-laundering charges by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Jackson said Trump, who has recently faced a swirl of speculation about his mental fitness, had himself requested a cognitive test in which he performed "exceedingly well".

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders dismissed the Democrats' concerns, saying "no one" had encouraged Mr Bannon not to be transparent during questioning but there's a "process of what that looks like". CNN has reported that Mueller, the man heading the investigation has already got two confessions of Lt Gen Flynn and former foreign affairs adviser George Papadopoulos for lying to federal officials.

It is unlikely the committee will face the same White House objections with Trump's former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, who is also being interviewed Wednesday.

"They want to keep this going to make it a political issue into the midterm elections", Lewandowksi said.

Defense lawyers said the government had not produced all the evidence it gathered and they needed more time to study it and file motions.

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., one of the Republicans leading the committee's investigation, reacted with exasperation to Bannon and the White House's claims.

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