Steve Bannon, the former White House chief strategist, will not appear Tuesday before the House Intelligence Committee, bucking a subpoena for his testimony and setting the stage for a showdown as the panel probes Russian interference in U.S. elections, Fox News has learned.
Bannon and his legal counsel have indicated to the committee that the Trump administration still does not want Bannon to discuss his time on the transition team or in the White House, sources tell Fox News.
The sources also said that Bannon’s team has raised the issue of whether privilege could be invoked to shield him from questions about those topics, even though members of both parties on the committee say no such privilege would apply.
The apparent reticence by the former Breitbart News executive chairman, who has also been subpoenaed as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, left lawmakers frustrated Monday.
“Our subpoenas have to matter,” Republican Rep. Tom Rooney, a member of the House intelligence panel, told reporters. “And if we have a subpoena out there that’s being ignored and we don’t do anything about it, guess what: Nobody’s going to come down to [the committee] anymore and answer questions.”
In January, the fallen former Trump confidante sat for an hours-long interview with investigators at the committee. At the meeting, Bannon’s attorney told lawmakers that the White House 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.
If Bannon refuses to appear before the House committee, its members could vote to hold him in contempt.