House panel postpones Bannon’s testimony in Russia probe


Steve Bannon is pictured. | Getty Images

In previous testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Steve Bannon refused to answer questions about his tenure in the White House or on President Donald Trump’s transition team. | Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The House Intelligence Committee has postponed its scheduled interview with former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon until next week, a spokeswoman for a lawmaker overseeing the Russia investigation said Tuesday.

Bannon had been tapped to testify Tuesday before the committee. In previous testimony before the committee, Bannon refused to answer questions about his tenure in the White House or on President Donald Trump’s transition team, and an attorney for the former chief strategist had been in negotiations with the committee and the White House about the scope of his next appearance.

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“The House Intelligence Committee’s interview with Stephen Bannon has been postponed at the Committee’s initiative until next week,” said Emily Hytha, a spokeswoman for Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas). “We look forward to having him before the Committee once we can assure that he will be able to thoroughly answer all our questions without concerns regarding the scope of executive privilege.”

Bannon’s refusal thus far to comply with a subpoena from the committee has irked lawmakers from both parties, as has his refusal to discuss his White House and presidential transition tenures even though Trump has not invoked executive privilege. Conaway said Monday, before Bannon’s refusal to appear, that “we have a subpoena for him in the morning, and we expect it to be complied with.”

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the committee’s ranking member, called Bannon’s failure to appear “unacceptable” and called on the committee to hold Bannon in contempt if he continues to refuse to testify.

“This is unacceptable, and the Committee remains united on this matter — the Committee’s subpoena remains in effect and his interview has been rescheduled for next week,” 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.”

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