By Alex Pappas, ,
Published February 07, 2018
The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said Wednesday that lawmakers would take new steps to force former top Trump aides Steve Bannon and Corey Lewandowski to testify for the panel's Russia investigation.
“It will therefore be necessary for our committee to enforce the subpoena on Bannon, and now move to compel Lewandowski’s testimony, among other outstanding steps needed to advance the investigation,” California Rep. Adam Schiff said in a statement.
Schiff added, “Neither Bannon nor Lewandowski have articulated legitimate grounds for refusing to appear and answer questions before Congress, and we fully expect them to return.”
Bannon is a former White House chief strategist who also served as chief executive of Trump’s campaign during the presidential election.
“Steve Bannon has indicated through his counsel that the White House will not allow him to discuss matters that occurred as a member of the transition, during his service in the White House, and even certain matters that occurred after he left the White House – indeed the White House has limited his testimony to a set of 14 yes-or-no questions they preapproved,” Schiff said. “At no point has the president invoked executive privilege.”
Lewandowski served as campaign manager during the Republican primaries, but was not tapped for a White House job.
“Yesterday, the committee was informed by counsel for Corey Lewandowski that he would be refusing to reappear before the committee to testify any further, despite an earlier pledge to do so,” Schiff said. “Lewandowski had earlier likewise refused to discuss the period following his departure from Trump’s campaign.”
In January, Bannon sat for an hourslong interview with investigators at the committee. At the meeting, Bannon’s attorney told lawmakers that the White House had directed his client not to answer questions about his time in the White House or during the transition.
Sources told Fox News at the time that Bannon did not specifically invoke any sort of legal privilege, including executive privilege, to support his refusal to answer questions.
Fox News’ Gregg Re and Jason Donner contributed to this report.