Steve Bannon is reportedly ready to speak with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team next week, according to two sources who spoke with the Associated Press (via WNCN) on conditions of anonymity.
This development may appear surprising to most observers familiar with the special counsel’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s Russia links, especially as it comes so soon after revelations that Donald Trump’s former adviser has refused to speak with the House committee, as reported by the Guardian. A source close to Bannon said that he planned to defy the subpoena, even as senior Republicans on the House committee were expecting him to turn up. This could even result in the panel holding Bannon in contempt of Congress, but that does not appear to be Bannon’s chief concern. The report suggested that the former White House senior strategist postponed the interview primarily because an agreement on the scope of questioning between the intelligence committee and the White House could not be reached.
That is also another reason why this piece of news confirming that Bannon would speak with Robert Mueller’s team as early as next week is so significant. Not only does it point towards an investigation entering its final phase — perhaps more remarkably — it also shows that there is no need of an agreement to be reached between the White House and Mueller’s team about what the special counsel would question Bannon about. The right-wing media mogul and political adviser is reportedly ready to discuss “everything” he knows about the Trump campaign’s alleged links with Russia and whether the Kremlin orchestrated an interference in the U.S. election process.
Bannon’s impending interview with Mueller’s team shows that the investigation into possible conflict of interest has not only breached Trump’s innermost circle but that it is nearing its climax. Trump’s former aides may even be willing to coordinate with the special prosecutor’s team in exchange for immunity. Former Trump National Security adviser Michael Flynn is already coordinating with the investigators. While it is not yet known exactly what Mueller’s team might be zeroing in on in relation to Bannon’s interview, questions on whether former FBI Director James Comey was fired by Trump because he feared an investigation into possible collusion, and therefore questions on whether Trump obstructed justice, could form its foundation.