President Trump's former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, is set to defy a subpoena issued by the House Intelligence Committee, according to multiple sources. Bannon has been summoned to appear before the committee that is investigating alleged collusion between Donald Trump's election campaign team and Russia. Bannon was a key player in Trump's election campaign, and he infuriated lawmakers when he refused to answer their questions during a previous 10-hour grilling by the House Intelligence Committee.
Bannon was one of President Trump's closest confidants, so is likely to hold important information about Trump's election campaign. According to the New York Daily News, "it remains unclear whether the White House will allow Bannon to answer questions about his time in the Trump administration."
Bannon left the Trump administration last August and was branded "sloppy Steve Bannon" by President Trump in the wake of comments attributed to him in Michael Woolf's White House book, Fire and Fury. Bannon has already delayed his appearance before the House Intelligence Committee twice. According to Fox News, Bannon and his legal team claim that the Trump administration want Bannon to remain silent about his time as Trump's chief strategist.
Bannon's legal team also question whether Bannon may be protected by "legal privilege," though the House Intelligence Committee insists that no such privilege exists.
What Happens If Steve Bannon Ignores The House Intelligence Committee's Subpoena?If Steve Bannon ignores the House Intelligence Committee's subpoena, the matter can be referred to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, who is duty bound to refer the matter to a grand jury. If Bannon is found to be in contempt, he could face up to 12 months in prison and a fine of $1,000.
As reported by Politico, a Republican member of the House Intelligence Committee, Tom Rooney, insists that Bannon should be held to account should he fail to answer his subpoena.
"Our subpoenas have to matter, and if we have a subpoena out there that's being ignored and we don't do anything about it, guess what: Nobody's going to come down to [the committee] anymore and answer questions."Rep. Mike Conaway of Texas, the top Republican on the committee, also stated that he expects Bannon to comply with the subpoena.
Steve Bannon Was Also Subpoenaed By The Mueller Investigation TeamThe House Intelligence Committee are not the only people keen to speak to Steve Bannon about his time inside Trump's White House. Special counsel Robert Mueller also issued a subpoena requiring Bannon to appear before a grand jury. According to CNN, Bannon has struck a deal to avoid being brought before the grand jury. Instead, Bannon has agreed to be interviewed by the Mueller investigation team.
As one of President Trump's closest advisors, Bannon is likely to hold important information, and many will recall that Bannon is alleged to have called a meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and the Russians "treasonous and unpatriotic."
At the time of writing, neither Bannon nor his attorney has commented on whether or not Bannon will answer the House Intelligence Committee's subpoena today.