Steve Bannon “Willing” to Testify in a Sharp Reversal: Jan. 6 Committee
Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is “willing” to testify before the January 6 committee, a reversal from his refusal to comply with the committee’s subpoena last year, according to his lawyer.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), a member of the January 6 committee, told CNN on Sunday that the panel is likely to hear from Bannon. “There are many questions that we have for him,” Lofgren added.
Bannon previously argued that due to former President Donald Trump‘s executive privilege, he did not have to abide by the congressional subpoena; legal experts disagreed, stating that the executive privilege was an overextension because Bannon was not a White House employee on January 6, 2021.
Bannon will appear in court on July 18 for two counts of criminal contempt of Congress. He has pleaded not guilty.
Still, Bannon spoke to Trump the night before the Capitol attack, and was camped out at Trump’s “war room” at the Willard hotel in Washington, D.C.—with Trump lawyers John Eastman and Rudy Giuliani—for days preceding January 6. According to CNN, the committee is intrigued by comments Bannon made in a podcast on January 5, in which he said, “All hell is going to break loose tomorrow.”
Bannon’s flip was likely influenced by a harsh letter that Trump wrote to Bannon on Saturday, saying he would waive his executive privilege: “When you first received the Subpoena to testify and provide documents, I invoked Executive Privilege. However, I watched how unfairly you and others have been treated, having to spend vast amounts of money on legal fees, and all of the trauma you must be going through for the love of your Country, and out of respect for the Office of the President.”
Robert Costello, Bannon’s lawyer, wrote to the committee: “Trump has decided that it would be in the best interests of the American people to waive executive privilege for Stephen K. Bannon, to allow Mr. Bannon to comply with the subpoena issued by your Committee. Mr. Bannon is willing to, and indeed prefers, to testify at your public hearing.”
Lofgren said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that she predicted Bannon’s appearance wouldn’t be live: “Ordinarily, we do depositions. This goes on for hour after hour after hour. We want to get all our questions answered and you can’t do that in a live format.”