The top strategist from the Trump campaign and his early days in the White House, Steve Bannon, is scheduled to speak with Robert Mueller’s investigators as early as next week, according to an AP report Tuesday. Sources familiar with the planned interview said that Bannon intends to tell the special counsel “everything” that he knows related to the ongoing investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and Donald Trump’s ties to them.
The interview will reportedly cover possible obstruction of justice by Trump and those involved with his campaign, transition team, and intelligence apparatus.
All of this comes on the heels of the postponement of Bannon’s scheduled interview by the House Intelligence Committee, which was set to be a closed-door meeting, but fell apart after negotiations between the House panel, Bannon’s lawyers, and the White House yielded an agreement only to answer 14 predetermined “yes or no” questions.
In January, Bannon appeared before the Congressional panel but refused to answer many questions, citing executive privilege on behalf of Donald Trump. On Tuesday, the Committee’s top Democrat, Adam Schiff said in a statement:
“Testifying before the special counsel does not obviate Mr. Bannon’s obligations under the subpoena issued by the committee. Should Bannon maintain his refusal to return and testify fully to all questions, the Committee should begin contempt proceedings to compel his testimony.”
The AP’s sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to go on the record about any details of the interview.
Bannon will face questions from Mueller’s team about the firings of both National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn and former FBI Director James Comey. Both dismissals by Trump were done under suspicious circumstances, and the stories justifying each changed multiple times. In each case, the president himself unwittingly revealed that his motivation was to stop or impede the Russia probe, which is prima facie evidence of obstruction of justice. Mueller, however, is thorough and wants to have an airtight case before any such charges are filed.
After reports of his comments about Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting in Trump Tower with Kremlin lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya quoted in the tell-all bestseller Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, Trump and Bannon’s former colleagues inside the old team all turned on the former adviser, casting him as a minor player — just as Team Trump has attempted to do with every name you’ve come to know over the last few months: Flynn, Manafort, Papadopoulos, and Page.
Perhaps this treatment from Bannon’s old friends has caused him to change his tune on answering questions.
Featured image via NCT gallery